The healing properties of garlic date back over 5,000 years, and was used by ancient Egyptians. Garlic strengthens the immune system, reduces cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and thins the blood to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It also acts as an expectorant and decongestant to help prevent chronic bronchitis. Being a regular garlic eater, this recipe in chef John Besh’s book My New Orleans: The Cookbook, for grilled oysters with spicy garlic butter caught my eye. Besh says: “This garlic butter is best when prepared ahead. I like to use it on just about everything, from pasta to sauteed shrimp.”
1 lb butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 dozen oysters, shucked and left on the half shell
Makes two dozen
Beat the butter with the garlic, pepper flakes, chives, thyme and lemon juice in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a food processor until well combined.
Using a rubber spatula, mound butter onto a wide sheet of plastic wrap. Drape one of the wide ends of the plastic wrap over the butter, then roll butter into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter and twist ends tightly. Refrigerate butter until hard.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Unwrap the spicy butter and slice it into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Put a disk of butter on each oyster, then put the oysters, butter side up, directly over the hot coals on the grill. Grill the oysters only until they start to curl and bubble around the edges and the butter melts. Serve them hot!
Louisiana author and chef John Besh won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006, and was awarded Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009. He owns four restaurants: Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke and La Provence. Restaurant August was one of the first restaurants to reopen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We wish him much luck with his new book and his future endeavors.