Creamy loaded baked oysters with cheese, spinach, and garlic
Makes 12 oysters
Prep 15-20 minutes, bake 14 minutes
These oysters are an impressive but easy appetizer, perfectly paired with garlic bread. I was inspired to create this recipe after a trip to Scoma’s of Sausalito, a restaurant perched on top of the idyllic waterfront in Sausalito since 1969. Their appetizer item, “Oyster Sausalito” featured “Fresh oysters baked with garlic, spinach, and creamy parmigiano” and was the star of the show during my lunch. The rest of the meal was nothing to write home about but those oysters stayed in my mind long after our trip.
This recipe is my own interpretation of the dish; I made a garlicky Béchamel sauce to create more creaminess and used a mix of shredded cheese I had readily available in my fridge. For the oysters, I used Atlantic Blue Point Farmed Oysters from my local Whole Foods but you can feel free to use any large oyster. I took advantage of their 12 oysters for $12 Friday deal and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and freshness of their oysters. There were worms, crabs, and snails crawling all over the oysters–a creepy but definite sign of fresh oysters.
- 12 large oysters shucked and cleaned
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup milk (2% or whole are both fine)
- 2 cups washed spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground paprika
- 1/2 cup of your favorite cheeses shredded
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Start by rinsing off the oysters to remove any little creatures or dirt. Make sure all of the oysters are firmly closed and were kept in the fridge until use.
- Use a kitchen towel to firmly hold the rounded side of the oyster. Wedge the oyster shucking knife into the hinge of the shell, wiggling while applying downward force at an angle into the hinge. Once the hinge disconnects, slide the shucking knife under the top shell to detach the muscle from the shell. Rinse the oyster meat under water to remove the shell bits before using the shucking knife to cut the oyster away from the bottom of the shell. Rinsing the oyster juice is a controversial topic but personally I don’t enjoy the briny bitter taste nor do I like shell bits.
- Once all 12 oysters have been shucked, start preparing the Béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low medium heat. Add in the flour and mix until dissolved. Stir constantly over the heat until the roux is lightly golden.
- Stir in milk slowly, making sure to prevent any lumps from forming. The mix should be creamy and thick. If the sauce is too thick, add some more milk. If it is too thin, cook for longer to evaporate the milk. Once the
- Once the consistency is creamy, add in the spinach, garlic powder, paprika, pepper and salt to taste. Once the spinach has wilted down, turn off the heat.
- Spoon the Béchamel sauce over the shucked oysters and top with shredded cheese and panko bread crumbs.
- Bake for 12 minutes at 425 F then broil on high for 2 minutes until the cheese is golden and crispy. Make sure to watch it carefully to prepare burning.
- Serve immediately with garlic bread.