When grilling oysters, you need to pick a species that is robust enough to stand up to the heat. The firmness of Bluff oysters makes them perfect for popping onto a barbecue with a spoonful of dressing or compound butter. This recipe comes from the early pop-up days of Hiakai.
50g thick-cut pancetta, cut into matchsticks
1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely diced
1T piri piri paste
Freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lime
Flaky sea salt
12 Bluff oysters, shucked and kept in the half shell
Set a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and allow to cook until the fat renders out, stirring to ensure it caramelises evenly.
Add the shallots, garlic and piri piri paste to the pan. Cook until the shallots have softened and started to turn golden brown. Add the lime juice and zest, then remove from the heat.
Season with a little flaky sea salt and keep warm until needed.
When you’re ready to serve, bring a charcoal grill or barbecue up to a high heat. Put the oysters on the grill in their shells and cook for one minute, until the residual oyster juices in the shell start to bubble.
Spoon one teaspoon of the piri piri dressing onto each oyster and cook for another 30 seconds. When the dressing starts to bubble, remove from the heat and serve immediately.