¼ pound thick slab bacon, diced
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
16 Apalachicola oysters, shucked, juices reserved, shells discarded
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 pounds baby spinach, steamed
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups torn pieces artisan bread
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2 Place bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon, and drain away some of the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons bacon fat in pan.
3 Turn heat to medium-high and add onion. Cook until caramelized. Add garlic, cooking 30 seconds, then add reserved oyster juice and wine. Reduce until almost dry, then add cream and reduce by half.
4 Turn off heat and add spinach to pan. Fold bacon into mixture. Add lemon juice, mix well, and season with salt and pepper.
5 Divide mixture into 4 individual, oven-safe dishes, or spread evenly into one baking dish. Arrange 4 oysters on top of spinach mixture in each individual dish or all 16 oysters in large dish. Set aside.
6 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread, tossing to coat evenly in oil. Season with salt and pepper and continue to toast bread, stirring frequently,
3 to 5 minutes.
7 Arrange croutons on top of oysters. Sprinkle with Pecorino and lemon zest.
8 Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and croutons are browned. Serve warm.
Recipe courtesy Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn