This authentic recipe for Drago's charbroiled oysters is from the horse's mouth—Tommy Cvitanovich, who owns Drago's Seafood Restaurant with his mother, Klara Cvitanovich, in New Orleans and Metairie, La., and now in Jackson, Miss.
Cvitanovich says, "This is the perfect dish for those who want to enjoy oysters in their unadorned form but can't or won't eat them raw. Once you start eating these charbroiled ones, you won't be able to stop. Don't attempt this without freshly shucked oysters and an outdoor grill."
The restaurateur developed the recipe more than 20 years ago in response to the raw oyster scare circulating at the time. Since oyster stock is the best liquid to cook seafood in, he says, he knew charbroiling oysters would produce a good result, especially since it was a take-off on his already popular grilled redfish. His new menu item took off like a shot.
The Cvitanovich family is of Croatian descent and it was Croatian sailors who brought their fishing skills and hard-work ethic to Louisiana in the 1800s to soon dominate the oyster farming trade, which has become one of Louisiana's largest industries. It's not surprising that Croatians would be such great fishermen. Their huge coastline along the Adriatic Sea is the source of income for the majority of the inhabitants living there, in cities like Dubrovnik, where Klara and her now-deceased husband, Drago, emigrated from.
- 8 ounces butter (softened)
- 2 tablespoons garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch dried oregano
- 18 large oysters (freshly shucked on the half shell)
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 ounce Romano cheese (grated)
- 2 teaspoons flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill. In a medium bowl, mix butter with garlic, pepper, and oregano.
- Place oysters on the half shell right over the hottest part. Spoon enough of the seasoned butter over the oysters so that some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up a bit.
- The oysters are ready when they puff up and get curly on the sides, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses and sprinkle on top of the oysters followed by the parsley.
- Serve on the shells immediately with hot French bread.