By his own admission, John Manion has a problem with French onion dip. “Left to my own devices, a party bag of Ruffles and a large tub of Dean’s wouldn’t last an hour,” says the El Che Steakhouse & Bar chef. So while brainstorming a grilled oyster dish, he tapped his favorite party snack, reenvisioned as caramelized onion aïoli. As if that weren’t sufficiently crowd pleasing, these bivalves finish with crushed potato chips and crumbled bacon, pretty much ensuring they’ll win every backyard barbecue. New to shucking oysters? The internet abounds with tutorials that’ll train you up in a snap.
John Manion’s Grilled Oysters with Onion Aïoli
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:1 hour 20 minutes
Special Equipment:Oyster knife
|1 Tbsp.||Olive oil|
|½ Tbsp.||Unsalted butter|
|1||Large onion, chopped|
|Kosher salt, for seasoning|
|¼ tsp.||Black pepper, plus more for seasoning|
|¼ cup||Sour cream|
|½ tsp.||Lemon juice|
|½ tsp.||Garlic powder|
|½ tsp.||Onion powder|
|½ tsp.||Smoked paprika|
|¾ cup||Minced chives, divided|
|¼ lb.||Thick-cut bacon (about 4 slices), diced|
|12||Oysters (Delaware or other East Coast variety)|
|½ cup||Crushed potato chips|
|Aleppo pepper, for serving|
1. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add oil, followed by butter and onions. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove onions from heat and cool slightly.
2. In a food processor, purée onions, ¼ teaspoon pepper, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, spices, and ¼ cup chives until smooth. Add salt to taste and set aside.
3. Wipe out skillet and heat it over medium-high. Slowly cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain bacon on a paper towel, reserving rendered fat in the skillet.
4. Meanwhile, heat a gas or charcoal grill to high. Shuck oysters, leaving oysters and as much liquor as possible in the bottom shells. Top each with ½ tablespoon bacon fat. Set oysters over the hot coals or flame and grill until their liquor begins to boil, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Arrange oysters on a platter and top each with 1 tablespoon aïoli, followed by remaining chives, bacon, and potato chips. Finish with a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper. Serve immediately.