BAKED OYSTERS w/ Pancetta, Spinach & Cream

Description:

BAKED OYSTERS w/ Pancetta, Spinach & Cream

Ingredients:

Did you know that Roman emperors used to prize oysters so highly for their aphrodisiac qualities that they would pay for their weight in gold?! If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we recommend that you take a drive out to Tomales Bay and stop by the Hog Island Oyster Company for a couple dozen fresh ones... it's a gorgeous drive, and a fun culinary adventure. But no matter where you find the raw goods, these baked oysters are the ultimate indulgent treat - creamy and rich and utterly delightful.

Prepare:

1 dozen medium-sized raw oysters, shucked
1 Tblsp. butter
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup small spinach leaves, chopped finely
3 oz. pancetta, cooked until crispy and diced finely
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 Tblsp. fine bread crumbs

How to Serve:

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the shallots. Saute over medium heat until translucent, then reduce heat and add the spinach & pancetta. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat.

Heat oven to 350. Remove the top shell from the oysters and arrange in a baking dish. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the oysters begin to turn color and puff up, then slide the dish out and spoon the spinach mixture over the top, dividing evenly between the oysters. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs & cheese. Place the dish back in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Serve alongside a glass of champagne or fruity white wine.

For a very simple alternative, pour a teaspoon of heavy cream over each oyster in the half shell. Sprinkle with chopped chives; bake beneath a broiler. Voila!

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