Baked Oysters with Bacon and Spinach

Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, shared this recipe for a lighter twist on classic oysters Rockefeller.

SERVES 4—6

30 medium oysters, such bluepoint or Apalachicola Rock salt, for serving Kosher salt, to taste
2 lbs. spinach
3 oz. bacon, minced
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 slices white bread, finely ground in food processor
1/4 cup combined minced fresh flat-leaf parsley and chives Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg, to taste
Lemon wedges, for serving

Shuck the oysters, leaving them in the bottom shells. Transfer oysters in their shells to a baking sheet lined with rock salt, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spinach and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Drain spinach and transfer to a bowl of ice water; chill. Drain spinach, squeeze to dry, and finely chop; set aside.

Arrange an oven rack 6″ from heating element and heat oven to broil. Combine bacon and oil in a 12‚″ skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon fat has rendered and bacon is not yet crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add leeks and garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer leek mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the reserved spinach and bacon, along with butter, bread crumbs, herbs, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and spoon about 1 tbsp. of the mixture over each oyster. Broil oysters until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.

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