photo by Jennifer Johnson
If your oysters are particularly small, this should yield enough breadcrumb mixture for approximately two dozen.
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 slices day-old white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
12 oysters, cleaned and dried (see headnote)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine all ingredients for Cajun seasoning in a small bowl and set aside.
Place bread in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form (you should have about 1 cup when finished). Transfer breadcrumbs to a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove and transfer to a bowl.
Position an oven rack to top one-third of oven.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and season with salt and pepper. Cook just until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, no more than 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, add to breadcrumbs along with lemon zest and juice and parsley, and toss to combine.
Line a baking sheet with kosher salt (so oysters don’t tip over). Shuck oysters using an oyster knife. Discard top flat shell, and then use knife to dislodge oyster from its bottom shell. Keep oyster in bottom half, taking care to retain as much oyster liquor as possible. Carefully nestle shell with oyster in bed of salt.
Sprinkle a bit of breadcrumb mixture over each oyster. Bake oysters until tops are just browned, about 10 minutes (you can broil for an additional 1-2 minutes if necessary). Serve warm with lemon wedges.
Makes 12-24, depending on size.