A Deeper Dive

Local Flavor for the Holidays

Oysters rockerfeller web

Wellfleet Oysters and Holidays just go together!

Whether you lean toward a traditional New England oyster stuffing, a classic oyster stew, or a perfectly shucked raw oyster, there is no better shellfish to choose than a Wellfleet oyster.

Local chef, author and illustrator Liam Rowland has worked with some of the country’s top chefs and James Beard Award Winners, like Barbara Lynch, Katie Button and Elliot Moss, and was sponsored in 2019 by Ocean Spray as one of the Northeast’s leading new culinary talents.

Now running his own company, Farm Stand, which focuses on popup events, private cheffing, and a traveling supper club, Liam, who lives in Wellfleet with his wife and daughter, is an avid farmer, forager, and oyster wild picker.

Here he offers up two refined recipes for sublime Wellfleet oyster preparations for any size gathering:

Classic Mignonette

Serves a dozen + Wellfleet oysters

This sauce is a staple and should be mastered by all home cooks and chefs alike. The nice thing about a mignonette is that it gets better with age, so don't throw it away! Originating in France, this classic vinegar based sauce compliments the salinity of our local oysters with the sweet tangy acid of red wine vinegar and shallot. Here is my riff on this basic sauce:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (cut very fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • Splash of champagne and a few minced cranberries (optional)

Stir vinegar and all remaining ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a one cup container with lid. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 months and serve over your fresh Wellfleet oysters, whenever you have them!

Oysters Rockefeller

Serves a dozen + Wellfleets

This classic baked oyster recipe never fails to impress - but its key ingredient cannot be replaced. Pernod, the french anise-flavored aperitif, is strikingly rich and full bodied, and next to the mineral tones of oysters it gives this dish what it needs to reign unforgettable.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 bag of washed rinsed spinach (traditionally this can also be parsley)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced )
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • 1/2 cup grated parm cheese
  • bread crumbs (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small saucepot and immediately add the spinach to wilt before the butter browns. Add the garlic and Pernod and cook for 3 more minutes. Let cool a bit.

When ready, line a sheet pan with tin foil so your oysters don't move around or use a grill rack. Spoon this rich butter sauce on each oyster and top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 5 - 7 minutes. If butter and oyster liquor spills on the pan make sure to add it back to the top of each oyster as you serve them. Enjoy!

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