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Recipe by Deborah Scott, executive chef at Island Prime, Kemo Sabe, and Indigo Grill.

I’m from the South, so I love ribs and side dishes like spoon bread, which hardly anyone out here is familiar with. I also do collard greens, black-eyed peas, and grits, with fun variations like cheddar and truffles. And I love anything on the grill. That stems from growing up in Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks. We spent our summers on the beach and raked for oysters and clams. We caught flounder and threw out strings with chicken necks on them to catch blue crabs. Then, as the sun was going down, we dug a hole in the sand and covered it with a grate and cooked everything on the beach. I did that with my dad and that was really fun. It’s the best seafood you can get. We shucked the oysters and ate them raw right on the beach.


Mornay Sauce
1/2 cup (1 4-ounce stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
3 T Pernod
2 cups grated cheese blend (Mozzarella, Asiago, Provolone, mild Romano)
salt and pepper to taste


3-4 slices white bread or French baguette
3 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
2 T minced parsley
2 T grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste


5 live oysters
4 oz cooked and chopped spinach (excess moisture squeezed out)
1 cup Mornay sauce
prepared bread crumbs
2 T grated Parmesan


1. Prepare Mornay Sauce: Melt 1/2 cup butter over low heat in the bottom of a 2-quart pot. When butter is completely melted, add 1/2 cup flour and whisk together. Once flour and butter are mixed, add the 4 cups of milk and bring to a boil. Once it starts to thicken, boil 10 minutes on medium heat. Turn off the heat and whisk in the Pernod and 2 cups of cheese blend, one cup at a time. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Prepare bread crumbs: Cut bread into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes, coat with olive oil and minced garlic. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown; let cool. Add parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Place mixture in food processor and chop into bread crumbs. (Or place crumbs between two sheets of waxed paper and crush with rolling pin.)

3. Preheat oven to 400. Shuck oysters. Detach meats from shells and quickly rinse shells clean of any sand. Return oyster meats to open shells and place in shallow baking pan or ovenproof serving dish. Top each oyster with cooked and chopped spinach. Spoon 1 cup Mornay sauce over spinach. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan. Bake in the oven at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

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