• Kosher salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons scallion, minced
  • Splash dry white wine
  • 2 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon rind
  • 6 Rappahannock river oysters or other deep-cupped, full-bodied, mineraly oysters
  • Bottarga, for garnish
  • Finely sliced fresh lovage or celery leaves, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Loosely fold a strip of foil in half lengthwise and put in the middle of a rectangular baking dish; this will hold the oysters and keep them from tipping over. Spread a layer of kosher salt on a serving platter.
  2. Put the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn on medium-low speed and whip until the butter is nice and soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in the oil. Then add the onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup of the scallions, and cook about 30 seconds; you still want some texture. Splash in the wine and turn off the heat. Zest the lemons into the pan and squeeze in the juice from half a lemon. Stir in the preserved lemon, and then remove the mixture to a bowl and let cool.
  4. Shuck the oysters and place on the foil so they sit flat.
  5. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons scallions and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the butter and mix to combine. Once the onion mixture is cool, add to the butter and mix to combine.
  6. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the compound butter on each oyster. Reserve the remaining butter for another use; it will keep tightly wrapped in the freezer for about a month. Put the oysters in the oven and bake to warm through, but not overcook, 5 to 7 minutes; the oysters will just be firming up and the butter will be bubbling just a little bit.
  7. Remove the oysters to the prepared serving platter. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top, grate lots of the bottarga, and sprinkle with lovage leaves.