In Around the Fire, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton explore the many ways of cooking with fire that come into play in their Portland restaurant Ox.
Put us near a raw bar, and Gabi will happily eat oysters by the dozen. Greg, not so much: He prefers the transformed texture of a cooked oyster. This grilled preparation is the best of both worlds—it maintains all of the fresh oceanic flavor of raw oysters and complements that inimitable flavor with satisfying char, fire, fat, and a meatier texture. Because of the richer flavor, you can get away with buying and shucking far fewer of these oysters to feed your clan.
For such a limited cook time on the grill, the oysters pick up an impressive amount of smokiness. But the real surprise is how well the Manchego cheese works with them. We recommend having some good crusty bread on hand to dab at the savory juices and bits left behind in the shell.
- In a small bowl or medium jar, mix all the ingredients well until combined. Store for up to 3 days.
- In a bowl, combine the chimi mayo, lemon juice, and Manchego and mix well.
- Prepare a grill to high heat. Meanwhile, shuck the oysters (see How to Shuck an Oyster, below), preserving their juices in the shells.
- Line the bottom of a cast-iron or other heavy-duty skillet with coarse rock salt and nestle the oysters on top. If you don’t have rock salt, set down a bed of uncooked lentils or lightly crumble some aluminum foil and nestle the shells into it to keep them in place. Place a dollop of the mayo-Manchego mixture onto each.
- Flatten the surface of the hot coals and place the pan directly on the coals. Close the lid of the grill. Roast the oysters until they are just warmed through and the mayo begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with oyster forks and crusty bread.
Reprinted with permission from Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant by Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, with Stacy Adimando, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.