After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea ~
This is a recipe adapted from Howard Mitcham’s Creole Gumbo and all that Jazz, but feel free to check out other classic recipes that you can pluck other ingredient additions from…
I wanted to gobble each and every one of these, luscious, plump, and juicy local coldwater oysters, but after three big ones and one small oyster, I was finished! While I enjoyed the recipe I found that I needed a drop more hot sauce and a little squirt of fresh roasted lemon. You can really play with the spinach topping as there are so many claims to famous versions to look at, I really wanted to enjoy the plump still juicy salty oyster beneath a mild spinach dressing though…try roasting lemon quarters along with the oysters.
Prep and Cooking time about 1 hour
2 dozen oysters on the half shell, reserve the liquor and strain
1 large bunch of spinach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped I had frozen about 12-16 ounces briefly blanched spinach and used that for the recipe. Thaw and squeeze out most of the water before placing it in the pan.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1-2 T. Worcestershire sauce
( a pinch of Cajun/Creole seasoning optional )
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. anchovy paste ( or 2 fillets, chopped)
1 oz. Pernod, herbesaint or ouzo
Parmesan cheese —recipe says top with a pinch, but I like a bit more parm
Extra spinach blend freezes well for another time.
A sturdy pan to bake the oysters in
Wash the mud and sand off the outside of the oysters in the shell. Open them, holding them over the pan to catch their juice. Remove any sand and shell particles and set them aside.
Wash the deeper shells and set aside.
Wash, stem and chop coarsely the spinach leaves. Melt the stick of butter and cook the spinach and parsley until soft.
Add bread crumbs, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and anchovy paste. Mix well and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the elements are well blended. Add the Pernod. Place this mixture in a blender and cream it. I used a stick blender as I wanted some texture to the spinach blend. Mitchum suggest that many chefs prefer to mix with an egg beater to get the texture.
Place rock salt in the bottom of a large tin pan. Place six large shells in the pan.
Lay an oyster on each shell and place them under the broiler flame for a minute just long enough to make their edges curl.
Remove from the broiler, and add a spoonful of oyster juice and a tablespoon of the spinach sauce over each oyster. Be sure to cover the oyster
Sprinkle just a pinch of parmesan on top of each oyster and bake them in a preheated 400 degree oven for about five minutes or until thoroughly heated through.
Remove from the oven and place under the broiler for a bit until the spinach is lightly browned.
Serve piping hot. VERY HOT Serve with Champagne