Grilled Oysters Rockefeller

Recipes and Food Styling by Michelle Buhr
Photography by Brian W. McDonald

These are “gateway” oysters for the uninitiated, as even those who aren’t entirely sure about this coastal mollusk will be won over. For advance preparation, make the sauce the day before, and cook it over the oysters just prior to serving. An easy recipe, the hardest part is shucking the oysters.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and pressed to remove all liquid
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons Chablis wine
Couple dashes hot sauce, additional to serve
48 to 54 Gulf Coast oysters, in shell
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Lemon wedges, to serve
Saltine crackers, to serve

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cooking just until fragrant. Add onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in spinach, milk, wine and hot sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

When ready to serve, light a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on high. Oil the grill’s cooking surface. Let the coals burn down to a medium-hot fire or adjust the gas burners to medium.

Shuck oysters as if serving on the half shell. Pour any liquor from the oysters into the spinach mixture. Place the oysters on a baking sheet. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Place oysters on the grill. Close grill cover; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Serve oysters on a platter with lemon wedges, crackers and hot sauce.