Spring is in full swing, which at Marc Forgione, means that it’s time to head back outdoors. The porch has opened just in time for the spring menu to launch. Of course, the chef’s signature BBQ Baked Oysters are always available, but they’re especially great to share over a drink alfresco.
“For this recipe I use a mix of oysters, Hummock Island from Connecticut and Old Salts from Virginia,” says Marc Forgione. “For the home cook, I suggest going to your local fishmonger and asking him what’s freshest. … A Blue Point could be a good substitution. As for the unique addition of the cheese, as I was developing the recipe, I felt like it needed something. I had some Pepper Jack from the burger and gave it a try one day. I was just as surprised as anyone that it would taste so good.”
Marc Forgione’s BBQ Baked Oysters
For the oysters:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 red pepper
1/2 red onion
2 tablespoons Ararat spice (or spice of choice)
1/4 cup Pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 1/2 cups milk
1 dozen shucked Hummock Island oysters
1 cup barcebue sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
In a pan over medium heat, sauté the vegetables in the butter. Once soft, add Ararat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, and transfer to a pot. Over medium heat, continue to cook, stirring every minute or so for about 15 minutes or until you can no longer taste the flour. Season with salt and pepper, fold in the cheese and herbs, and cool completely. Cover each oyster with the béchamel, and brush each with the barbecue sauce.
For the bacon powder:
4 thin slices bacon
In an oven heated to 350 degrees F, bake the bacon until crispy. Pat dry with a paper towel and mince. Leave in a warm place on a paper-towel-lined plate lined until crispy again.
Broil the oysters until the béchamel is bubbling (about 2-3 minutes). Sprinkle with the bacon powder and a little more Ararat. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.