Boston chef Jeremy Sewall's contemporary approach to classic dishes in his new book, The New England Kitchen, is not only fresh, but also downright tasty.
Take, for example, his spin on oysters Rockefeller, called Oysters Gregory. He takes out the Parmesan and spinach usually found in the beloved appetizer and replaces them with a topping made of grilled leeks, tarragon and bacon. He also adds a touch of paprika, panko bread crumbs and a double hit of acid using both the zest and juice from a lemon.
And when those briny bivalves are topped and ready to be put in the oven, Sewall puts them of a bed of salt, so that they don't slip away, and bakes them until they are just warmed through.
Perhaps the best part? The oysters will fill your entire kitchen with the nutty, smoky smell of bacon—exactly what you want on a cold, cozy night.
To learn more, read "The Joy Shuck Club."
Oysters Gregory with Grilled Leeks, Bacon and Paprika
Recipe adapted from "The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes," by Jeremy Sewall
Yield: 12 oysters
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
12 medium oysters (such as Wellfleets)
1 small leek, white part only, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup finely diced uncooked slab bacon
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 large garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1 cup kosher salt, for baking
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Shuck the oysters over a bowl to catch their liquid. Save the bottom shells; discard the top shells. Place the shucked oysters in the bowl with their liquid; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the leeks with some of the canola oil and place both halves, flat side down, on the grill pan. Grill until lightly charred on both sides, 4 minutes. (Note: The leek should not be fully cooked but get just a little bit of color from the grill.) Remove the leeks from the heat and slice into half circles.
3. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, brown the bacon until the fat has rendered, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and add the paprika, leeks and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks have cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and fold in the bread crumbs, tarragon, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and white pepper.
4. In a medium bowl, stir the salt with ¼ cup water until a paste forms. Form the paste into a long, flat mound on the middle of a baking sheet. Place the reserved oyster shells on top of the mound. Place an oyster into each shell and, using a small spoon, place the leek-and-bacon mixture on top of each oyster.
5. Bake the oysters for 8 minutes, then turn on the broiler and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve warm.
*This article was originally published on 12/02/2014 by Tasting Table editors. The restaurant, chef and/or recipe are in no way affiliated with or endorsing the featured sponsor.