My dear friend Sam has one of those big Texas families that I secretly wish I belonged to. His Mamma is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met and is married to a fabulous man and cook, Papa Joe.
A few years back, the Texans were in town for a “fancy” party on the terrace of Sam his partner Chris’ penthouse. As always, Sam and Chris had laid out beautifully crafted canapés. Hours of planning and work disappearing with one delicious bite.
This is where Papa Joe comes in. On the terrace, past the carefully arranged platters of caviar and foie gras stood Papa Joe. With tongs in hand, the crowd was gathering around the grill, waiting patiently for Papa’s contribution to the party…his famous blackened oysters. Now, the Texans knew what was coming, and knew to stick close to Papa Joe. Crusty bread topped with buttery, spicy oysters. I, too, stood by his side, gobbling as many of the “oyster bruschetta” as I could stuff in my mouth.
When Papa Joe returned to Texas, he very generously forwarded his recipe. Now, I happily bust out the cast iron skillet all summer long and channel Papa Joe…and his fabulous blackened oysters.
Papa Joe’s original recipe serves “15-30 New Yorkers or 5-6 of Papa’s family”. I halved his recipe, and it tends to serve 6-10 as an appetizer. As much as I hate buying pre-made spice mixes, I use the pre-made blackened seasoning here because it is easy and tastes like Papa wants it to taste. If you are feeling ambitious, feel free to substitute your favorite homemade blackened seasoning mix.
Papa Joe’s Blackened Oysters
1 pint fresh oysters (about 16-32, depending upon size), do not drain off liquid
3-4 tablespoons Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic OR Seafood Magic Seasoning (available in most grocery stores)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
12-16 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette-style bread, lightly toasted
Place a 12-14 inch skillet (I use a cast iron) on bbq grill or over medium-high heat if preparing indoors. Once skillet is hot, add oysters and their liquid. The liquid will sizzle vigorously.
Stir in the spice blend, using less if you are a spice baby, more if you like it hot. I use the 4 tablespoons and no one complains.
Add butter, stirring occasionally while oysters cook and liquid reduces.
As liquid reduces, dip 1 side of toasted bread into the sauce.
Place dipped bread on a serving platter.
It the liquid is reducing too quickly, lower heat. When sauce has thickened and reduced by about 1/2, remove from heat (this will take 6-12 minutes, depending upon the heat of your grill).
Spoon 1-3 oysters (depending on size) on top of each bread slice on the platter. Top with extra sauce.