This recipe from Table with a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove by Dena Grunt (Cameron Books, 2021) is a house special at Nick’s Cove. It calls for a bit of shredded cow milk cheese. Dena says the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company Toma (a semi-hard, mild cheese with a waxed rind) is perfect for the recipe.

Makes 2 dozen oysters

  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • ¼ cup anise-flavored liqueur (such as Pernod)
  • ½ cup shredded semi-firm cow milk cheese (such as Point Reyes Farmstead Toma or a Gouda)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 dozen small oysters, preferably Pacific Miyagi (each about 3 inches in length)
  • ¼ cup fine dried breadcrumbs (optional)

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 4 minutes longer.

Add the liqueur and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then cook, stirring, until reduced by one-fourth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the remaining 2/3 cup butter, the cheese, tarragon, and salt, and pulse until the ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

Rinse the oysters under cold running water and scrub clean with a stiff brush. To shuck each oyster, hold the oyster flat-side up on a folded kitchen towel in your non-dominant hand. Find the opening between the shells in the pointed, hinged end, insert the tip of an oyster knife into the gap, and twist the tip until the hinge pops. Slide the knife in between the shells and run the blade along the top shell to cut the muscle that attaches the oyster to it. Then carefully run the blade along the bottom shell, freeing the oyster from it. Lift off and discard the top shell, keeping the oyster and juices in the bottom shell. Set aside on a sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over high heat, 450°F. Brush the grill grate clean. Top each oyster with about 2 tablespoons of the butter-spinach mixture. Arrange the oysters on the grill, close the cover, and grill until the butter melts and the juices start to bubble, 2 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a serving platter. Garnish with the breadcrumbs, if using. Serve at once.

Recipe and photo used with permission from Table with a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove by Dena Grunt (Cameron Books, 2021).