Freshly shucked oysters, bacon, spinach and a tangy mustard bÉchamel sauce come together for this classic with a twist. This recipe is sure to be a fan favorite whether hosting a dinner party, game night or a romantic dinner for 2. This flavorful combination of oysters, bacon and mustard will have anyone coming back for more.
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour or gluten free flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
½ teaspoon nutmeg. ground
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
12 each oysters, fresh (always choose fresh, local shellfish whenever possible)
1 cup pancetta, small diced
4 cups spinach
1 shallot, minced
½ tablespoon garlic
¼ cup Pernod
3 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup Gruyère, finely shredded
¼ cup herbed breadcrumbs
2-3 tablespoons chives, finely minced
- In a bowl over ice, shuck your oysters and reserve any liquid from the oysters with them. Discard the flat half of the shell reserving only the deep half. Store refrigerated until ready for use.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the shallot and garlic and saute until translucent.
- Stir in the flour using a rubber spatula and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the mixture comes together. Stir constantly so as to not scorch the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk stirring constantly so as to not form any lumps.
- Bring the mixture up to a simmer, stir often and let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Whisk in the cheese and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and fold in the mustard. Keep on the stove in a warm area with no heat covered.
- In a large saute pan over high heat add the pancetta, render until crispy then fold in the spinach, shallot, and garlic and reduce heat to medium. Add Pernod, butter, and salt and cook until almost dry. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a baking tray lined loosely with foil lay out all the oyster shells. Fill the shell with about 1 tablespoon of the pancetta and spinach mixture creating a “nest”, top with the oysters, shredded Gruyère and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Place into the oven on the middle rack and bake until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn, we are just melting the cheese, warming the oyster, and toasting the breadcrumb).
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 3 minutes before dolloping with a generous spoonful of the mustard bechamel, finish with freshly minced chives and serve immediately.