Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
This recipe was created by Devon Boisen, the executive chef at Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto, 1919 Fourth St., Berkeley.
Boisen has been with McCormick and Schmick's, which manages Spenger's, since 2001, working in several of its more than 50 restaurants nationwide. Boisen has fine-tuned this recipe over the years and says that even though it's a bit complicated, it's well-worth the effort.
He says Spenger's has had guests from all around the country mention that this is their favorite oysters Rockefeller.
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Because Boisen prints a new menu daily, depending on the seafood available, he can't always offer his oysters Rockefeller. The recipe has been slightly modified for home use.
6 extra-large Pacific oysters in the shell
2 cups rock salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
4 to 5 cups fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen, steamed and drained
1 star anise
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup hollandaise sauce
½ cup whipping cream, whipped to medium peaks
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided use
Chopped fresh parsley, garnish
Fresh lemon wedges, garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan, lay down the rock salt and make a bed for the oysters so they do not tip over. Place the oysters on the salt with the flat side of the oysters up, and bake for 10 minutes or until the oysters open. Let the oysters sit out and cool. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the shallots in the butter, then add the spinach. Once the spinach is hot, add the star anise. Add the cream and reduce by half. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
Without spilling the oyster liquor, pry off the top shell of each of the cooled oysters and place back on the salt. Remove star anise from spinach mixture. Place a spoonful of the spinach mixture on each of the oysters, covering the meat completely. (Be careful not to use too much of the sauce from the spinach mixture; it will depend on how much liquor is still left in each oyster. You don't want it to be too "soupy.")
Place the oysters back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the oysters from the oven. In the meantime, preheat the broiler. In a mixing bowl, fold together the hollandaise, whipped cream and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Place a generous amount on each oyster, then sprinkle each with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until golden brown. Sprinkle the tops with the chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedge.
Per serving, based on two servings: 718 calories; 22 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 65 grams fat (40 saturated, 20 monounsaturated, 3 polyunsaturated, 2 other); 353 milligrams cholesterol; 1,162 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams sugar; 81 percent calories from fat.