Grilled Oysters with Bacon and Cayenne Butter

Ingredients

6 appetizer

  • 3 slices hickory-smoked or applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch-wide strips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2½ tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juiceRock salt
  • 24 freshly shucked oysters (such as Malpeque or Bluepoint), on the half shell

Preparation

Step 1

Cook bacon in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to processor. Add butter, garlic, Italian parsley, cilantro, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and ½ teaspoon coarse salt. Blend until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. With machine running, gradually add white wine, then fresh lemon juice and continue to process until blended.

Step 2

Place large sheet of waxed paper on work surface. Drop butter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto paper in long log. Using paper as aid, shape butter into 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap to enclose; chill butter until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Step 3

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Spread ½-inch-thick layer of rock salt on large rimmed baking sheet. Place baking sheet on grill rack and heat 20 minutes.

Step 4

Cut twenty-four ⅛- to ¼-inch-thick rounds from cayenne-butter log. Transfer hot baking sheet from grill to heatproof surface. Nestle oysters in hot rock salt. Top each oyster with slice of cayenne butter.

Step 5

Return baking sheet with oysters to grill. Close grill and cook until butter melts and starts to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon shallow layer of additional rock salt onto each of 6 plates. Nestle 4 grilled oysters in salt on each plate and serve.

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