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BBQ Oysters with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

by Chef Austin Kirzner, Executive Chef, Red Fish Grill 

For 6 appetizer servings or 3 or 4 main-course servings

Notes: Keep the oysters refrigerated in their juices until needed.

BBQ Sauce:

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored Louisiana pepper sauce, such as Crystal brand

1 tablespoon clover honey

6 tablespoons clarified butter

Combine the hot sauce and honey in a blender. Set aside. In a very small saucepan, heat the clarified butter to 140°F over medium heat, using a frying thermometer to access temperature.

You may also heat the butter in a microwave oven in a small microwaveable bowl. (If you just prepared the clarified butter and it’s still over 140°, you don’t need to cool it to 140°.)

Promptly turn the blender to low speed and slowly pour the 140° butter in a thin steady stream through the hole in the blender’s lid. Pour this barbecue sauce in a large, nonreactive mixing bowl and set aside.

Oysters:

canola oil, for deep frying

2 cups seasoned flour

36 medium-to-large oysters,* drained

1 cup blue-cheese dipping sauce or salad dressing

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F, or heat 1½ to 2 inches of oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350°.

Place the seasoned flour in a large mixing bowl.

Once the oil has almost reached 350°, drain any excess oyster liquor from a batch of the oysters and dredge them in the seasoned flour.

Carefully slide the oysters into the oil. (As the cold oysters come in contact with the hot oil, it may momentarily bubble up in the pan.) Fry the oysters just until golden brown and crispy, about two minutes. Remove the finished oysters from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat to dredge and fry the remaining oysters.

As soon as all the oysters have been fried and drained, add small batches of them to the bowl of barbecue sauce and toss to coat well. Serve while still warm.

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce:

4 ounces Stilton or other good-quality blue cheese, crumbled

3/4                 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

2 tablespoons buttermilk

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

11/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl, blending well with a whisk.

Serving Suggestion: Before using the dipping sauce, refrigerate it in a covered container at least four hours or overnight to let the flavors develop, then season with more kosher salt and pepper if desired. Keep refrigerated and use within four days.

Yields 1½ cups