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Freshly shucked oysters are one of my absolute favorite apps, entrees, lunch, dinner, you name it. While I love eating oysters raw, every now and then I like to switch it up and bake them for a fancy savory app.
My baked oysters recipe is basically my own spin on Oysters Rockefeller. Pancetta, butter, shallot, garlic, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and baby spinach all come together to deliver a salty and slightly crispy oyster with a hint of smokey pancetta. It’s an amazing combo of flavors you won’t be able to deny.
This recipe is really straightforward and comes together really quickly. The only part that takes a bit of practice is the oyster shucking.
How to Shuck an Oyster
Freshly shucked oysters is what makes this dish irresistible. The briny juices will add any and all salt you need to pull together a flavorful dish. Serious Eats has a quick video demonstrating exactly how I shuck my oysters.
In short, use an oyster knife (a dull-pointed, thick-bladed knife) to pry the back hinge of the oyster open and separate the body from the shell. Once the blade is inserted, work your way around the perimeter of the shell to separate the oyster meat from the bottom of the shell. It takes a little practice but once you’ve got a feel for it it’s no longer intimidating.
I would 100% recommend you use a dishtowel as demonstrated in the video to hold onto the oyster shell. This will give you more leverage and also protect you from slipping and stabbing yourself in the palm of your hand. The tip of the oyster shucker is thick and dull, but you could still cut yourself. I would strongly recommend against using a sharp knife.
Tips for Baking Oysters
A layer of rock salt, coarse sea salt, or crumpled aluminum foil in/on a sheet pan helps to keep the oyster shells upright when baking in the oven. Salt works the best and also helps to create a nice hot surface for the oysters to stay warm once they’re removed from the oven. The salt bed also makes for a nicer presentation.
What Kind of Oysters?
Any local fresh oysters you can get will work just fine. There are all sorts of varieties so I like to experiment. My only tip would be to grab a few extra so you can shuck and eat a few raw. If you’re going through all the trouble of shucking, you might as well treat yourself.
My baked oysters pair really well with white wine, sparkling wine, or a nice estery Saison or witbier.
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Baked Oysters Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: American
My spin on Oysters Rockefeller. Pancetta, butter, shallot, garlic, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and baby spinach all come together to deliver a warm and savory baked oyster.
- 10–12 fresh raw oysters, shucked
- 2 cups (packed) baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 2/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
- 3–4 (2 ounces) slices pancetta or prosciutto, cut into small pieces
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Splash of white wine
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- 2 cups rock salt or coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add pancetta and cook an additional minute. Add spinach, one cup at a time, and saute until tender. About 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add white wine, and stir in parmesan cheese. It’s OK if cheese doesn’t totally melt.
- Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and place in a small bowl with the panko crumbs. Toss until panko crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
- Line a small baking sheet with 2-3 cups of rock/sea salt. This will prevent oysters from tipping. If you don’t have salt, you can use a crinkled sheet of aluminum foil instead.
- Shuck the oysters and nestle them into the salt bed. I like to retain some of the oyster brine but you can discard it if you prefer. You want the deeper half of the shell to hold the oysters. See notes below on tips for shucking oysters.
- Top each oyster with a spoonful of spinach/cheese mixture and then a spoonful of buttered panko crumbs.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until panko crumbs are golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges and pair with a nice Saison, white wine, or sparkling wine to wash it down.
Serious Eats has a quick video demonstrating exactly how I shuck my oysters. I would 100% recommend you use a dishtowel as demonstrated in the video to hold onto the oyster shell. This will give you more leverage and also protect you from slipping and stabbing yourself in the palm of your hand. I would strongly recommend against using a sharp knife.
- Serving Size: 2 oysters
- Calories: 278
- Sugar: 1.1g
- Sodium: 585mg
- Fat: 19.2g
- Saturated Fat: 9.5g
- Carbohydrates: 9.4g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Protein: 17.1g
- Cholesterol: 110mg
Keywords: oysters rockefeller, baked oysters
I literally cannot wait for an R month down here in Maryland. I love oysters any which way, off the half shell, baked, poached, fried – all of it. My only challenge is getting hubby to ignore that there is a bit of spinach in this recipe.
I’m with you! Nothing better than buck a shuck. The spinach adds a nice touch. Let me know how these come out!