Well, today's the day of his birth (which is a great day for all of you -- without it, you wouldn't be reading this!) and I feel it's only appropriate to share with all of you his signature dish.
The last time I posted a photo of Big Dave's Oysters Rockefeller, I was inundated with angry responses from my sister and her friends.
"WHAAAT?!" "NOOO FAIR!" "ALAINA'S HAVING HIM MAKE THEM AND WE'RE ALL COMING OVER. IMMEDIATELY."
Duh. Of course I had him make them when they weren't around. More for me. Let's be real.
While I've never made this dish myself, I've played sous chef to my pops. (Which, with him, means stand back and pretend to be helpful while he maneuvers magically around the kitchen).
It's a relatively painless recipe - unless you're shucking your own oysters, but with hard work comes glory - and one that will wow the ones you're feeding. So read. Eat. Be amazed.
--> 1 box Kosher salt
--> 2 dozen oysters in shell (they should eventually be shucked and sitting in the half shell, or you can buy a pint of pre-shucked oysters, but you will also need shells to put them in. My pops keeps shells on hand. If only I could find those in central Texas...)
--> 1/4 lb pancetta, diced
--> 9 oz baby spinach
--> 6 large garlic gloves
--> 8 oz Farmer's cheese, grated
--> 4 tablespoons olive oil
You will also need:
--> Large baking pan
--> Box grater
--> Cast iron skillet or medium saute pan
--> Chef's knife
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your large baking pan with the salt. It's to stabilize the oysters. Arrange the shucked oysters in half shells on your pan. Using a large box grater, grate your Farmers cheese. Pieces should be about the size of shredded carrots. Dice your pancetta and render in 1 tablespoon olive oil.Mince your garlic and set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in your pan and add spinach. Once your spinach begins to wilt, add your garlic. Cook until soft.
Prep work done!
Now, layer the oysters with spinach, then cheese and top with your diced and rendered pancetta. Bake those suckers at 350 degrees until the cheese begins to brown -- 10 to 12 minutes.
[Note: You can substitute bacon for pancetta and Havarti for Farmers' cheese, but you're cheating yourself. Just saying.]
Serve and experience euphoria.
In the aftermath of your pleasure, thank your lucky stars that my dad was born.