While oysters are the stars of the show at an oyster roast, eaten raw or grilled until they are just barely cooked, side dishes offer contrasting flavors and textures to make the meal even more memorable. Choose foods that have a casual feel, such as finger foods, and that are equally as special as the main course. Items brought from home and kept cool also have their place, including potato salad, cookies or a sheet cake.
First Things First
Having an array of sauces for the oysters gets the meal off to a festive start, as people test and taste to find their favorite. Include the classic and delicious mignonette sauce with champagne vinegar and finely chopped shallots. Add a spicy horseradish or green chili sauce and an Asian-inspired balsamic vinegar and soy sauce version with finely chopped chives. Keep the ingredient list short and don't forget to bring multiple cutting boards and knives. (See Reference 1)
Eat Your Veggies
Grilled corn on the cob adds crunch and a smoky flavor to the meal. Either grill the cobs alongside the oysters, turning them occasionally for 10 or 15 minutes, or wrap them in foil and lay them among the embers for the same amount of time. If room allows on the grill, brush sliced vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and grill the pepper, eggplant, onion or zucchini until it's soft and slightly charred.
Whole grain salads offer chewy contrasts to silky oysters. Bring cooked brown rice, bulgur or wheat berries from home along with salad dressing and vegetables to chop and add once you arrive. A Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad has as much chopped parsley as it does bulgur, and is traditionally dressed only with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, with chopped tomatoes optional. But you can add any ingredients to these salads, including green or red onions, peppers, olives, carrots or celery.
Fruit for Dessert
Once the oysters are off the grill and you have scrubbed it clean, you have ample space for pineapple slices, melon wedges or peach halves to take their turn. Brush them generously with olive oil and let them cook until their sugars caramelize and form a crusty brown glaze, from 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve fresh pineapple or watermelon slices drizzled with lime juice or with a brown sugar-yogurt sauce for dipping.
- Sunset Recipe Annual 1998 Edition; Editors of Sunset Magazine and Sunset Books
- How to Cook Everything Vegetarian; Mark Bittman
- Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images