Baked Oysters with Coastal Cheddar Cheese and Bacon

We might be biased, but one of the best reasons we love living in the Pacific Northwest is local oysters! While we enjoy them year-round, oysters take the spotlight on our menus in March – our chefs have created two fabulous preparations in addition to the classics we already offer on our menu.

If you are new to oysters, or have a hard time eating them raw, then our Baked Oysters with Bacon and Coastal Cheese sauce is for you. It’s a delicious twist on Oysters Rockefeller preparation from El Gaucho Tacoma’s Executive Chef Jesus Boites.

Ingredients
6 ea. Penn Cove select oysters
3 oz. Rockefeller mix (see recipe below)
3 oz. coastal cheese sauce (see recipe below)
3 oz. bacon crumbs
1 lemon wedge
Parsley spring
1 cup Rock Salt (for plating)

Bacon crumbs
6 oz. bread crumbs
3 oz. bacon (crispy)
Mix in the food processor.

Rockefeller Mix
4 oz. bacon, minced
4 oz. yellow onion, minced
12 oz. fresh spinach, stemmed
1 T El Gaucho Steak Seasoning*
2 T Pernod

Directions: wash and spin dry spinach. Lightly sauté bacon, then add onions and continue cooking until they are soft and transparent. Add spinach leaves, season evenly with Steak Seasoning, constantly stirring. Add Pernod, let stand for 4-5 minutes until spinach is wilted. Drain to remove excess liquid.

Coastal Cheese Sauce
2TBL melted butter
½ oz. all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
Pinch cayenne
Pinch ground white pepper
½ cup half & half (heated)
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream (heated)
3 fl. oz. chicken stock
½ lb. grated English Coasted Cheddar Cheese (New York white cheddar is a good substitute)

Directions: Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pot, whisk in flour over medium heat, continue whisking while adding kosher salt, pinch of cayenne, and ground white pepper. Continue whisking for 5 minutes to make a roux, then remove from heat. Whisk in half and half, cream, and chicken stock until blended, return to medium heat while gently whisking until thickened, and simmering. Add grated English coastal cheddar cheese, just until blended, remove sauce until use.

Preheat oven to 500F. Place half of the rock salt in a sauté pan and nestle oysters around. Bake oysters for 8 to 10 minutes.
½ oz. ea. Oyster of the Rockefeller mix (see recipe below)
½ oz. ea. Oyster of the coastal cheese sauce (see recipe below)
½ oz. ea. Oyster of the bacon crumbs (see recipe below)

Plate Baked Oyster on a medium oval laid over a bed of rock salt in an oval formation. Garnish with lemon wedge and parsley.

*El Gaucho Seasoning can be purchased locally at Metropolitan Market, Zupans, in any El Gaucho or AQUA by El Gaucho restaurants, and online at Amazon.com.

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