Parmesan Encrusted Oyster Salad

This recipe was given to us by our good friend Terry Schwartz. He was the head chef at Idlewild restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, SC many years ago and this was our favorite thing on the menu! He was kind enough to recreate this recipe just for us. Enjoy!

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 Tsp Diced Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Pulse several times to combine, then slowly add olive oil (1/2 cup) while running the blender to emulsify. Set Aside.

To Prepare Salad:

  • Baby Spinach (washed and stems removed)
  • Carmelized Onions (slice onion thin and then add to med/hot saute pan with butter and a small pinch of sugar and cook until golden brown)
  • Shaved Parmesan for garnish

Put spinach and onions in mixing bowl and toss with small amount of dressing and put on plate. Set Aside.

Oyster Breading:

  • 2 cups Parmesan Cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 cup Corn Meal
  • 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Take all ingredients and mix into a bowl.


Marinate raw shucked oysters in eggwash or buttermilk for 15 minutes, remove several at a time, drain excess egg, dunk both sides of oysters in Parmesan mixture, and add them to a med/hot nonstick pan or griddle and cook for several minutes on each side until golden brown. Place on top of already dressed salad then garnish with shaved Parmesan.

How To Shuck Oysters

If you are new to shucking oysters, don’t be intimidated! Watch here in this demonstration for the proper and safe way to shuck oysters.

Our Go-To Oyster Recipes

There are so many different ways to eat oysters, and oyster eaters’ preferences vary. Many people are purists, and just like to eat them straight. Lots of people, most of our friends included, like a squeeze of lemon and a drop or two of hot sauce.

Mignonette sauce is my favorite and works well if you want to be fancy. We have had parties where guests can raid our pantry, or bring their own ingredients, and each person creates their own oyster recipe. Then we take turns presenting our recipes and everyone tastes and then votes for a winner. We call it Iron Oyster Chef, or Oyster Iron Chef. We’ve never gotten that name right, really.

I once tried baked oysters with Brie and crumbled bacon. I thought it would be delicious and that I would be the clear winner, but it was awful. It was salty on top of salty on top of salty. Live and learn, I guess.

Anyway, here are a couple of our favorites that actually ARE good. We’d love to hear about your creations; please shoot us an email or post to our facebook page if you come up with something good. Or something bad. We’re always up for a laugh, too!

Classic Mignonette:

This simple sauce is perfect with raw oysters, and can be endlessly customized. Experiment with different vinegars, herbs, and add-ons. I love it made with champagne vinegar, tarragon, finely diced strawberries and sometimes some finely diced cucumber, but here is the basic recipe to get you started. Any add-ons should be diced as small as you can get them.


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs VERY finely diced shallot
  • Cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to a few days before serving. Stir before serving. Just put a few drops on each oyster right before you eat it.

Stuffed Oysters:

I often make these as an appetizer or a whole meal; it’s a perfect way to use up any leftover oysters!

You can either start with raw oysters, or you can steam them until they just barely pop open (500 degrees for 8-10 min or so). This will make them easier to shuck and won’t affect the flavor. Make sure to separate the adductor muscle from the shell before stuffing and baking the oysters. This will make them much easier to eat.


  • 24 oysters, shucked, separated from shell, and placed back into the half shell.
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 4 cups fresh washed spinach. (You can also use frozen or canned but you don’t need as much and make sure to get all the water out. This isn’t exact science so just use your judgement).
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 block cream cheese
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Parmesan cheese


Put oven on broil, and prepare all of your oysters on the half shell in a single layer on a baking sheet. In a large skillet, put 2 tsp olive oil and heat it up on medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until fragrant and softened. Add the spinach and lemon juice and cook til the spinach has wilted down. Add the cream cheese and stir until the cream cheese is melted and everything is combined. Try to resist the urge to add salt because the bacon, Parmesan, and oysters will all be salty. You can add a little pinch if you really really want to. Spoon some of the cream cheese mixture onto each oyster, then top with some some crumbled bacon and Parmesan cheese. Broil until the Parmesan is melted and starts to brown and the edges get a little bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes and serve. Be careful with the shells- they’ll still be hot.