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Oysters on the Half-Shell with Grilled Garden Salsa

Photo: Thomas J. Story
Total time 2 hrs, 30 mins
Yield Makes 2 cups salsa
Tractor Dave Muff roasted the vegetables over local red oak logs and grew and pickled his own artichokes (jarred are a good substitute). Leftover salsa is great on eggs, fish, or chicken.


  • 2 cups red oak chips* (or 3 oak or pecan chunks), soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
  • 1/2 red jalapeño or red Fresno chile
  • 2 to 3 red chiles de arbol or red Fresno chiles
  • 3/4 pound whole unpeeled tomatoes
  • 3/4 pound whole unpeeled onions
  • 4 brined jarred artichoke hearts (about 7 oz.), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped purslane (optional)
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • About 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 dozen oysters on the half-shell

Nutrition Information

  • calories 45
  • caloriesfromfat 25 %
  • protein 4.9 g
  • fat 1.3 g
  • satfat 0.3 g
  • carbohydrate 3.3 g
  • fiber 0.2 g
  • sodium 69 mg
  • cholesterol 25 mg

How to Make It

  1. Prepare a grill for medium heat (350° to 450°). If using charcoal, add chips or wood chunks evenly over coals. If using gas, put chips or chunks in a shallow foil pan set on burner in corner of grill. Grill chiles, tomatoes, and onions, turning often, until skins blacken all over, 15 to 20 minutes.

  2. Let vegetables cool, then peel. Stem and seed chiles. Chop vegetables and put in a medium pot with artichokes, herbs, purslane, vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt; bring to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions soften, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit 1 hour, covered, so flavors can marry.

  3. Purée roughly in a food processor, thinning with hot water to make it pourable. Let cool and season with salt to taste. Serve with oysters.

  4. *Find red oak chips online from Susie Q's Brand (

Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per oyster with 1 tsp. salsa.

Make ahead: Up to 1 week, chilled.