I recently cooked dinner for a party that was part of an auction item. The birthday boy wanted Oysters Rockefeller and he handed me a very unconventional recipe for the dish. I went home, dutifully made the dish as a trial run, and was surprised how good it was. You see, the sauce was basically a bunch of gooey cheese with sautéed onions and spinach. I would normally say that cheese and seafood don’t mix, and they generally don’t. If you’re a purist and want to “experience” the oyster, then this isn’t your recipe. If you want something decadent and very yummy, this is it! I changed the recipe up quite a bit so it’s not quite as much of a cheese overload and I also added the lemon and Tabasco for extra flavor. I made this version for the actual dinner party and it was a big hit. I can hardly wait to make them again.
Rockin’ Oysters Rockefeller
24 fresh, unopened oysters
1 cup beer
1 clove garlic
Seasoned salt to taste
4 black peppercorns
⅓ cup butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
5 ounces of packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Tabasco
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup panko crumbs
Clean oysters, and place in a large stockpot. Pour in beer and enough water to cover oysters; add 2 cloves garlic, seasoned salt, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, drain, and cool.
Once oysters are cooled, break off and discard the top shell. Arrange the oysters on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C.)
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in butter until soft. Reduce heat to low, and stir in spinach, Monterey Jack and Fontina. Cook until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Stir in the cream, Tabasco and lemon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over each oyster, just filling the shell. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake until golden and bubbly, approximately 8 minutes. Serves 8