Sorta Oysters Pablo

This is our version of our favorite appetizer at our wonderful local St. Helena restaurant: Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. The original is the stuff of dreams. Our version is probably a bit easier, and still awfully good.

Servings: 2

1 Cup Olive Oil
1 Egg
1 Lemon, juiced
1/2 Tablespoon Good-quality Tequila
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Minced Shallots
3 Tablespoons Minced Garlic, or roasted garlic
1/3 Cup Grated Asiago Cheese
1/16 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Pound Fresh Spinach Leaves
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (1 to 2)
1/2 Shallot, sliced
1/2 Small Clove Garlic, sliced
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/16 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Chipotle Chile in Adobo, minced
Oysters and Assembly
12 Hog Island Oysters or Other Midsize, Briny Oysters, or good quality fresh shucked oysters
Minced Fresh Parsley, for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 500*F.
  • For the sauce: put all the ingredients in a jar large enough to fit the head of an immersion blender. When egg has dropped to the bottom of the jar, insert the immersion blender into the jar so the head of the blender is resting on the floor of the jar. Turn on the blender and hold it on the bottom of the jar for about 20 seconds. Slowly raise and lower the blender until all of the ingredients in the jar are emulsified and incorporated into the "mayonaise" that is formed.
  • For the spinach: remove stems and wash spinach well. Heat olive oil in a large saut* pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add spinach, salt & pepper; cook, stirring, until spinach is just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread the contents of the pan on a baking sheet to cool. When cool, squeeze spinach to get rid of excess liquid, and chop coarsely.
  • Place spinach in a bowl, mix in the chipotle, and taste. If you want a little more spice, stir in a little of the adobo sauce from the can. Set the spinach aside.
  • Shuck the oysters, reserving any oyster liquor.
  • Put the ceramic shells on a baking sheet. Put 1 tablespoon of spinach in the bottom of each shell and top with an oyster. Spoon any reserved liquor over the oysters, followed by about 3/4 tablespoon of sauce over each.
  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes, keeping a close watch on them and removing them as soon as they are golden brown and bubbly. If they haven't reached this point when 8 minutes is up, pop them under the broiler for a moment or two.
  • Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve.
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