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Upside Down Broiled Oysters

Unless you have much heavier-duty cooking equipment than the average home cook, it’s impossible to duplicate Drago’s famous original char-broiled oysters, even if you have the recipe. The first challenge is getting and shucking the oysters. The second is to get enough heat coming from below to penetrate the shells and get their contents sizzling.

A couple of years ago, I came up with a method that turns out a great dish from a standard home oven, using shucked oysters and no shells at all. You cook them under a hot broiler, all but floating in a pan of fresh chopped garlic, butter, olive oil, herbs, and pepper. They come out irresistibly fragrant, begging for pieces of French bread to get the sauce up. The only trick is to take the oysters out of the oven the first second you see any evidence of sizzling butter or curly oyster edges.

  • 36-48 large, shucked oysters
  • 1 lb. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbs. salt-free Cajun seasoning (Frere Jean’s is perfect)
  • 1 tsp. dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, mixed
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine

1. Preheat the broiler to 500 degrees, and mount a rack about three inches below the heat.

1. Place the oysters on a baking sheet or pizza pan, with a gap about as wide as your finger between them.

2. Mix butter with the garlic, Cajun seasoning, dill, and salt. Put about a tablespoon of the mixture atop each oyster.

3. Sprinkle the oysters with about 1 tsp. of the parmesan-romano cheese mixture. Drizzle the lemon juice and the wine across the whole pan.

4. Put the pan under the broiler and broil at 550 degrees until the oysters start to plump up and the butter starts to sizzle. Serve immediately, with lots of toasted French bread rounds.

Serves six to eight appetizers.

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