An easy recipe of oysters au gratin Rockfeller style, with spinach, garlic and parmesan, and without béchamel sauce.
Since this recipe can be prepared in advance, it is ideal when you are having people over for dinner!
Oysters are usually eaten raw, with a dash of lemon juice and various accompaniments (such as mignonette).
But they are also delicious served hot, au gratin or not.
My favorite recipe of cooked oysters is Josée di Stasio’s recipe of oysters au gratin “Rockefeller style”, with spinach and parmesan, published in her book Le Carnet Rouge.
Spinach, garlic, a little breadcrumbs and cheese and you’re done!
I have long made this recipe with large oysters but after several tries, I find it works best with smaller oysters.
It is also important to cut the muscle of the oyster before garnishing it to make it easier to eat once cooked.
To prepare the oysters in advance
If you need to prepare a large number of oysters, or simply to get a head start, it is possible to cook the oysters beforehand, a bit like mussels.
Here’s how to prepare oysters in advance:
- First, the oyster shells must be lightly cleaned to remove most of the dirt.
- The oysters are then placed in a large pot with a little white wine (for 24 oysters, allow 1/2 cup of liquid).
- Put the lid on and open the oysters over high heat, as you would do with mussels.
Once the oysters are opened, all that remains is to detach the mollusks from their shells and keep them in the refrigerator in the cooking juices until it is time to garnish and gratinate the oysters.
Believe me it saves a lot of time!
You can also cook the spinach with the garlic in advance to save a little more time.
For a dozen oysters
- 2 tsp. butter
- ¼ tsp. pressed garlic
- 2 cups of well-packed baby spinach
- 1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
- ½ tbsp. grated parmesan cheese plus in my case
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- In a large frying pan, melt the butter over low heat.
- Add the garlic and let it infuse for a few seconds, without letting it brown.
- Increase the heat and add the spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until it falls apart.
- Transfer the spinach in a strainer to drain (this step is very important otherwise the oysters will have too much liquid. Do not hesitate to press on the spinach to remove as much water as possible).
- When the spinach is cooled, coarsely chop it.
- In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with a few drops of oil.
- Open the oysters and remove the water from the shells. Personally, I also cut the muscle of the oyster to separate it from the shell. **
- Place the oysters in an ovenproof dish. You can put coarse salt on the bottom of the dish to stabilize them, but it wasn't necessary in my case.
- For each oyster, add ½ tsp of spinach, a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Bake the oysters for about 4 minutes in the oven or until the top is golden brown. You can finish with a quick turn at broil to get a nice gratin on the cheese.
** You can also cook the oysters in advance, as is done for mussels, as mentioned above.