Photography: Deb Smail/Courtesy Hugo Ortega

A Houston-based chef’s taste of the West includes a spicy catch from the Gulf of Mexico.

In the October 2017 issue’s Taste of the West feature, we talk to three chefs who each has a unique and powerful approach to how they cook and taste the West. One of those chefs is the James Beard Foundation Award-winning Hugo Ortega, executive chef-owner of H Town Restaurant Group in Houston. His restaurants include Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi. Chef Ortega shares his recipe for woodgrilled oysters below.

Ostiones Asados (Wood-Roasted Gulf Oysters With Chipotle Butter)

24 oysters
1 cup chipotle compound butter (recipe follows)
6 teaspoons panko breadcrumbs
6 teaspoons grated Parmesan

Chipotle Compound Butter

(Makes 1 cup)

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced white onion
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers, deveined, seeded and minced
¼ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
¼ tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, minced
4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Scrub oysters under cold running water. Using a strong bladed knife insert the knife into the hinges of the shell. Twisting the blade slightly, move the blade along the upper side of the shell to free the muscle from the shell. Remove and discard the upper shell. Transfer the oysters on the half shell to a platter lined with rock salt.

Combine all butter ingredients in a bowl and mix until well incorporated.  Transfer to a container and keep cool until ready to use.

Top each oyster with 2 teaspoons of chipotle butter, ¼ teaspoon of grated Parmesan, and ¼ teaspoon of panko breadcrumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until panko is golden brown.


Read our profile of chef Hugo Ortega.

From the October 2017 issue.

Explore:Food & Spirits