Though I have never been to Louisiana, I know there are rich, complex food traditions across the state that have blended and evolved over hundreds of years.
In one of my attempts to learn about some of the flavors of Cajun and Creole cuisine, I focused in on the oyster, because Louisiana has a history of being a top oyster harvester in the US (not including recovery from 2010 BP oil spill), and because dishes like oysters Rockefeller and the Po-boy started in Louisiana.
As I read through “New Orleans Style” or “Cajun Style” grilled oyster recipes, I settled on a combination of ingredients from two main sources:
I came up with a sauce that blends inspiration from both of these recipes, and that I absolutely love. I have served it with grilled oysters and fried oysters, and both are delicious (though I think the fried ones are my favorite!).
I hope to one day have better points of reference than the internet for understanding the flavors of Louisiana. Nevertheless, this sauce is wonderful.
Sauce Recipe: (best with grilled or fried oysters)
- 12 oysters on the half shell (or 12 oysters taken out of the half shell if you are going to fry them)
- 1 stick butter
- 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 2 Tbs Paprika (I blend regular and smoked)
- 1 sprinkle of Cajun seasoning
- Louisiana hot sauce (to your own liking)
- 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped fine (save some to garnish)
- Lemon juice
- black pepper
Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat and add garlic, paprika, Cajun seasoning, Louisiana hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Let simmer for a couple minutes to soften garlic and allow flavors to meld.
Remove from heat and add parsley and lemon juice.
Grilled Oysters: add 1 tsp of sauce to oysters while they are grilling
Fried Oysters: serve sauce on the side for dipping
If you fry the oysters…drain them first, coat them in egg second, coat them in flour seasoned with paprika, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper third, and then finally fry them in a ripping hot pan of oil.