I just returned from a week in Western Canada. To be exact I was skiing in Banff, Alberta. In fact, one mountain I skied several times sat on the border between western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. Have I ever mentioned how much I love all edible things that come from the northwest Pacific ocean? And not the least, I love the vast selection of oysters from Washington State and British Columbia. So being so relatively close to the motherlode, I thought oysters would have been spilling off restaurant tables in Banff. Not exactly. Alberta and Banff are much more cowboy country. Beef and wild game prevail. It’s definitely the place to go for bison, elk, and even bear. Definitely not the place to go for fresh fish and oysters.
So, I’ve been salivating for oysters. Yesterday, I picked up a couple dozen of North Shore Long Island’s finest. And instead of simply shucking them, and pouring down my throat, I decided to do something new. I made a minced topping from organic chicken sausage, seasoned with tomato-basil, and mixed it with a butter sauce and topped the oysters with it, after I let them open on the grill. Although they didn’t exude the ocean’s brininess, theses grilled oysters were a delicious and satisfying appetizer. And they were so quick and easy to make, plus I didn’t have to shuck them. It got me to thinking about substituting the chicken sausages with, say, smoked buffalo sausages.
24 oysters in their shells
4 oz chicken-tomato-basil sausage, minced (substitute chorizo, smoked duck, or your favorite sausage)
2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice (about four limes)
1 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz unsalted butter cut into 1/2 cubes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped parlsey
parsley leaves for serving
Remove the sausage from their skins/casing (if any) and cut or mince into tiny pieces. In a small nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil, and then add the minced sausage along with the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté over medium heat until well browned, constantly turning and moving the contents in the pan with a wooden spatula. When done, tansfer to a bowl to cool, and add the lime juice. In the same sauté pan add 2 Tbsp of water and four of the 1/2 butter cubes. Stir with a spatula, collecting any leftover bits of sausage in the pan. Begin adding the rest of the butter, 4 cubes at a time. Arrange all the oysters in a large grilling tray (I used two metal grilling baskets) and place on the hot grill. Remove them once the shells start opening up, about 3-4 minutes. Using a mitt or kitchen towel to handle the oysters, remove the top shell. Arrange the oysters in a warmed serving dish, over scattered parsley leaves.
Quickly finish the sauce by adding the rest of the butter and the chopped parsley, and fold in the sausage mixture, incorporating well. Pour the sausage buttersauce on the oyster with a small ladle and serve immediately.