Baked Oysters with Bacon, Greens, and Parmesan

Impress your guests with these decadent oysters.

Baked Oysters with Bacon, Greens, and Parmesan
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Assemble Time:
10 mins
Cool Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

Seafood always makes a meal special, but these Baked Gulf Oysters are truly other-worldly. Oysters may seem difficult to master, but this recipe—which comes from Adam Evans, chef at award-winning Birmingham restaurant Automatic Seafood and Oysters—is shockingly simple. Fresh oysters get topped with a decadent mixture of bacon, kale (or collards), and Parmesan, then quickly baked at a high heat until the toppling is bubbly and golden. The oysters are lightly cooked and curled around the edges, and the bacon-kale mixture adds richness, rounded out with a hint of lemon.

Evans says that shucking oysters is about finesse, not strength. "Secure the blade of an oyster knife into the hinge of the oyster. Then crank the handle of the knife instead of forcing the knife into the shell," he advises. Not confident in your oyster-shucking skills just yet? Don't worry: You can ask your local seafood prover to shuck your oysters for you.

This dish can be prepped ahead of time, leaving you with plenty of hours to spend with guests and loved ones. Simply top the oysters with the mixture and set inside of the fridge up to a day in advance, or until you are ready to bake. Now sit back and get ready to impress the dinner party crowd.


  • 8 ounces smoked bacon, diced

  • 1 large onion, diced (1 ½ cups)

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped (1 Tbsp.)

  • 3 cups thinly sliced Lacinato kale or collard greens (from 1 bunch)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (about ¾ cup), plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 24 oysters on the half shell

  • 1 (4-lb.) pkg. rock salt (ice cream salt, such as Morton Salt)

  • Lemon wedges


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add kale or collards. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, about 8 minutes for kale or 12 to 15 minutes for collards.

  2. Add butter to skillet. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until melted, about 20 seconds. Add flour; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add whipping cream and Parmesan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and pasty, about 45 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a bowl; chill until mixture is cool and starts to firm up, about 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon bacon-kale mixture onto each oyster. Pour rock salt on a baking sheet, and arrange oysters evenly on salt so they sit level. Bake until bacon-kale mixture is bubbly and golden brown and oysters have started to curl and are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool 5 minutes. Garnish with additional Parmesan, and serve with lemon wedges.

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