Okay, this one is definitely an acquired taste kind of day! The first time I tried oysters was in college. With a little squirt of lemon juice, Tabasco, and a cracker and I was hooked! I generally try to pick a National Food day with a recipe that you can easily incorporate at your restaurant but my love for oysters compelled me to write this post regardless. Maybe it’ll motivate you to try this slimy seafood for the first time. While oysters are traditionally eaten raw, chefs are pushing the boundaries by incorporating it into all sorts of dishes. For example, in Vegas, Chef Sammy DeMarco’s oysters at First Food & Bar at the Palazzo, which are crisp oysters with seaweed salad, pickled ginger and wasabi mayo. I’ve never tried it but it sure sounds good!
The Delmonico is well-known for their Oysters Rockefeller appetizer and here is how they make it! Give it a try!!
- 6 ounces spinach, stems removed and rinsed
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons Herbsaint or other anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod or Pastis
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup cracker meal or cracker crumbs
- 5 drops green food coloring (optional)
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the spinach and cook until very tender and the water is green, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander set over a large bowl and reserve 2 3/4 cups of the cooking liquid. Let the spinach sit until cool enough to handle, then finely chop, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot over moderately high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved spinach water, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, liqueur, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cracker meal and food coloring, and stir well to combine. Cool completely before using.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rock salt on a large baking sheet and across the bottoms of 6 large plates.
- Arrange the reserved oyster shells on the baking sheet. Put 1 oyster in each shell and top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce, spreading the sauce evenly out to the edge of the shell to completely cover the oyster. (Alternatively, transfer the sauce to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe the sauce over the oysters.)
- Bake until the sauce is lightly browned and the oysters begin to curl around the edges, about 20 minutes.Using tongs or a spatula, carefully transfer the hot shells to the salt-covered plates and serve immediately