grilled kumamoto oysters

These are the oysters I served at our all local ingredient Christmas dinner party last week.  If you head there and watch the video you’ll see Eric and I eating ours raw!  But not everyone likes raw oysters, so here’s a really simple recipe for grilled oysters without a grill.  We like cooking them under the broiler if it’s the middle of winter and we don’t want to go out in the cold to grill oysters.  I’ll also walk you through how to preserve fresh oysters if they’re not being eaten immediately.

Typically when you buy fresh oysters they are kept on ice in the seafood market, but most of us don’t have a big bucket of ice to keep our oysters in!  They are usually put into a plastic bag and wrapped in paper for you to take home.  Whatever you do, DON’T leave them this way!  Your oysters are still alive and will suffocate if left inside the bag.

First you want to rinse the oysters, they’ve got lots of grit on them that you probably don’t want to be eating.  If you eat them out of the shell without a fork, you definitely want them clean.

Next spread the oysters out on a plate, this will give them room to breathe and make sure they’re kept moist.

Finally, cover the oysters with a wet towel and place in the fridge.  Don’t worry about having open seafood in the fridge.  Although they smell like the ocean, because they’re fresh it’s not a stinky fishy smell and won’t affect your other food.  If you need help in opening the oysters, here’s a great video on how to shuck oysters.  I actually used a paring knife and an oven mitt which you can see in my video of our event.  I’m so excited that kumamotos are local oysters, because when Jaden and I had an oyster smorgasbord in San Francisco, those were definitely my favorite.  The recipe below is adapted from Jaden’s recipe she shared with Elise.  I always use rice to hold the oysters steady, though sea salt can work well too.  It just keeps the juices from spilling out due to tipping oyster shells.

Broiled Oyster Recipe

Makes 24 oysters


24 whole live oysters
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 TBS unsalted butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt
cracked black pepper to taste
1 TBS finely minced parsley (I used dried)


Heat a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper and parsley. Turn off heat.

Preheat the broiler.  Fill a rimmed baking sheet with a layer of rice and place the oyster cup side down in the rice.  Place under the broiler for two minutes.

Remove the pan and holding each oyster with an oven mitt (I use one that actually fits on my hand like a mitten), shuck them with an oyster knife or paring knife.  Toss the top shells and spoon a little of the sauce into each oyster.  Return to under the broiler for 4-5 minutes longer.

You can slurp the oysters directly from the shell once it’s cooled a little, or eat them immediately with a fork (the meat is not as hot as the shell).

Approximate cost/serving: Oysters are a little pricey, these were $17 per dozen.  That comes out to $1.42 per oyster, which sounds like a lot.  But in a restaurant you can pay a good $6-10 for just two oysters!  So this is a great option for a fancy meal or party when paired with really affordable sides.  I’m planning to do oysters for our next fancy date dinner, they’re so good that it’s okay to just have 2-3 per person and savor them.

Gluten Free: recipe is completely gluten free

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.