Great Side Dishes on your Caja China Grill
Twice Grilled Oysters
2 dz med-small fresh oysters, in
¼ cup Tillamook butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
Combine butter, garlic, and lemon pepper in pan. Heat until simmering, stirring often, remove from heat and set aside.
Place oysters, cup-side down*, on grill and close the lid.Heat grill to med-high and scrub oysters under cold water with a wire brush.
Cook oysters 5-8 minutes, checking periodically. When an oyster has “popped” (the lid of the shell has opened, remove the oyster from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Reduce heat to med-low.
Remove the lid of each shell, cutting the oyster loose if necessary, and place cooked oyster in cup of shell, with about ½ of the remaining liquor.
Drizzle on teaspoon of seasoned butter over each oyster and return to the grill, sprinkle with asiago and parsley. Cover and allow to cook 10-15 minutes. Finished oysters will be a deep grey with browned and blackened edges.
Remove from grill and allow to cool until the shells can be handled. Serve.
Re-grilling the oysters at a low heat with butter infuses them with a rich, nutty flavor that is completely unlike the taste of a “once cooked” oyster.
Tip: To make a unique and delicious spread, use chilled slow grilled oysters in your favorite cream-cheese based oyster spread recipe.
*To keep oysters upright on the grill, roll tinfoil into 1-inch diameter tubes and make a ring for each oyster to set in.
2 zucchini, cut into quarters
2 eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 yellow squash, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 red onions, quartered
4 roma tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
2 yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
3 sweet potatoes, sliced
5 beer brats (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Toss all veggies in a bowl with the 1/2 cup of olive oil, and coat well. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Grill veggies and brats (optional) over the coals on your Caja, cut side down for 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Cover and cook for 2 more minutes, or until brats are almost cooked through.
In a medium pot, combine tomato paste, chicken stock, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, oregano and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and educe slightly Set aside and keep warm.
Transfer vegetables and brats to a cutting board and coarsely chop (leave the tomatoes whole).
Put the chopped ingredients and tomatoes in a baking dish, add tomato/stock mixture. Broil 10-15 minutes until just browned.
Serve at room temperature, with toasted bread and goat cheese.
Note: The leftovers, if you have any, are great the next morning over eggs scrambled with a little feta cheese!
Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks. As a third generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.
His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, MEAT FIRE GOOD, and La Caja China Party.