Chargrilled Oysters with Mustard Seed Butter
(Makes about 1 dozen oysters)
4 tablespoons brown mustard seed
4 tablespoons yellow (white) mustard seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 (12-ounce container) stout beer
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
12 Gulf Coast oysters in their shell, scrubbed
In a small bowl combine mustard seeds, red pepper flakes and beer. Seal bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and then place in refrigerator overnight. For the compound butter, cut the butter into 1-inch pieces, place into a small mixing bowl and put in a warm area (about 80°F) for 30 minutes. Place the mustard seed mixture in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let mustard seed mixture cool completely, about 20 minutes. In a small bowl combine butter, 4 tablespoons mustard seed mixture, turmeric, cilantro, lemon and salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt. Transfer butter mixture to a sheet of parchment paper, deli paper, or plastic wrap, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends in opposite directions to seal. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to chill solid, or make several days in advance. Place remaining mustard seed mixture in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for future use. Unwrap the butter and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on a plate and keep chilled.
Preheat gas grill or prepare and light a charcoal grill for medium-high heat. Use an oyster-shucking knife to carefully open oysters from the hinge. Cut the adductor muscle and discard the top shell. Cut the bottom adductor muscle to loosen the oyster completely from the shell. Reserve their liquor in their half-shells. Position each loosened oyster upright in its shell on a footed wire cooling rack. Place one slice of mustard butter over each oyster.
Place oysters onto the preheated grill and increase heat to medium high. Cook oysters for 5 to 7 minutes. Feel free to add a bit of additional compound butter over the oysters as they flame and brown a bit on the edges. Let them cook in their own juices until the edges curl, butter is bubbly and the shell edges begin to look slightly charred. Remove oysters from the grill and serve right away.
Handling Note: Handling the oysters one by one over an open fire can be trying. It's optional, but in large quantities I suggest using a stainless-steel wire grilling basket or a 10" x 18" footed wire cooling rack (available at any commercial restaurant supply store). Use metal tongs and a kitchen towel. In one move, transfer the oyster-loaded rack directly to the grill. A spray bottle filled with water is good for taming the flames caused by dripping butter should the flames get too high.