These oysters are the stars of the show at Death & Taxes, where the wood fire grill is the focus. If you make the preserved lemon gremolata and the chili butter ahead, these come together pretty quickly. Serve them as an appetizer to a grilled steak.
Yield: 24 oysters
For the preserved lemons:
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
For the gremolata:
½ preserved lemon rind, finely diced
½ clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
For the oysters:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon chili paste or sambal
24 oyster, shucked, on the half shell
Make the preserved lemons: Thoroughly wash and scrub each lemon. Slice each lemon as if you were cutting it into quarters lengthwise, starting from the top and cutting only to within ½ inch of the bottom; do not cut all the way through. In a mixing bowl combine the salt and sugar.
Carefully pack each lemon incision with the salt mixture and place them with the incisions facing up in a container just large enough to fit them snugly. (A Tupperware or other square container with high sides will work.) Place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the lemons, inside the container. You want to create a seal so the lemons are protected. Place a small plate or lid smaller than the container on the lemons to weigh them down. Keep the container at room temperature for 4 days to a week. Remove the weight and plastic. Cover the container with tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. The lemons should be ready to use in about a week and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. They can also be frozen.
Make the gremolata: Carefully remove the rind from ½ a preserved lemon, being careful to remove all pith. Finely dice the rind and set aside.
In a food processor combine the garlic, parsley, lemon juice. Pulse until the garlic and parsley are finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the diced preserved lemon. Season with fine sea salt to taste.
Make the oysters: Prepare a charcoal grill, removing the top grill grate.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice and zest, and chili paste with a fork until smooth. Line a grill basket with rock salt or crumpled tin foil. Arrange the oysters in the basket, in an even layer (you may have to work in batches), being careful not to tip them. Top each oyster with about 2 teaspoons of the butter. Place the basket directly in the embers and roast for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and starts to boil.
Transfer the oysters to a platter and top each oyster with ½ teaspoon of the gremolata. Serve warm.