Greenmarket Inspo: Grilled Oysters & Parsley-Chile Butter

Every week, our test kitchen team pays an early morning visit to New York City’s biggest farmers market: the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Comprised of over 70 stalls bursting with flowers, local products, and beautiful seasonal produce, it’s the perfect place for a hit of mid-week inspiration. Follow us on Instagram to tag along (bring a tote bag, it’s impossible to leave empty handed!) and see what we decide to make with our market haul.

After our success picking up bacon at the Greenmarket, we set out to find another non-produce item to use in the Test Kitchen this week, and landed in front of a stall full of coolers and trays of ice. Farmers’ market seafood may sound odd, but if you live near a fishable body of water, it’s likely some of the freshest you’ll find for sale in your area. In New York, we’re lucky that our markets often offer wild-caught fish and shellfish from off the coast of Long Island alongside the carrots and artisanal sourdough, and we took full advantage, buying a few dozen oysters.

For a last summer hurrah, we lit our grill one final time. Grilling oysters is an easy way to prepare them — especially if you don’t have the tools required for shucking. A brief stint in a hot, closed grill pops the shell open, making them easy to separate by hand and serve however you like. We prepared a slightly spicy, slightly herby compound butter to dot into each shell. Carefully sticking them back on the grill for about a minute melts the butter into a flavorful sauce, and makes each oyster a one-bite celebration of the season. 

Grilled Oysters & Parsley-Chile Butter

Serves 4
Special equipment: grill 

Ingredients

2 dozen oysters, unshucked
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp Calabrian chile paste
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves and stems
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Oil, for the grill

Method

1. Make the compound butter:

In a bowl (or food processor, if you have one), combine the butter, chile paste, garlic paste, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Form into a log; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until use, at least 15 minutes. Cut into small pieces.

2. Grill the oysters:

Heat a grill to medium-high; oil the grates. Working in batches (do not do more than a few at a time, to avoid overcooking), place the oysters, unshucked, on the grill, flat side up. Close the grill. Cook until the top shells pop open, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs or a spatula, carefully transfer to a sheet pan. Discard the ones that don’t open.

3. Finish the oysters & serve your dish:
Remove and discard the top shells. Add a piece of compound butter to each grilled oyster. Carefully place on the grill. Close the grill. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the butter is melted. Using tongs or spatula, remove from the grill. Serve immediately. Enjoy!