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Sustainable Seafood: Oysters Bingo

Updated: May 23, 2019

Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions offers a wide range of recipes with the help of Seafood Watch® to provide insight on the most environmentally friendly ways to cook delicious seafood.

Jim Leiken, executive chef of Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, created today's recipe. Seafood Watch® currently recommends U.S. wild-caught oysters from the Gulf of Mexico and farm-raised oysters from all sources. Check here for any updates to these recommendations since posting.

Oysters Bingo (serves 4 as an appetizer)


For the bingo sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp. finely minced garlic

  • 1 tbsp. finely minced shallot

  • 2 oz. tequila

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 oz. lemon juice

For the oysters

  • 1 dozen medium-size West Coast oysters

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 tbsp. finely minced shallot

  • 1 tbsp. finely minced garlic

  • 1/2 lb. spinach, washed well

  • 2 pieces chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 1/2 cup bingo sauce


For the bingo sauce

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be made up to 3 days ahead.

For the oysters

Leiken uses Hog Island Sweetwaters, but any fresh oyster from a reputable source is fine. When purchasing oysters, make sure the shells are firmly shut, feel full and heavy for their size, and have a clean smell like the ocean. When shucked, the meat should be plump and juicy inside the shell, not dried out and shriveled.

Shuck oysters and transfer them to a strainer set over a small bowl. Discard the top shells, but reserve the bottom shells. When juice has strained out, transfer them to a small bowl and keep refrigerated or over ice. Strain oyster juice through a fine strainer or a layer of cheesecloth to remove any grit.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil, then minced shallot and garlic. Cook shallot and garlic briefly until it is aromatic and translucent. Before garlic and shallot start to color, add spinach and sauté until it is wilted. Add oyster juice and cook until it has been absorbed. Then, add chipotle and mix through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer spinach mixture to a cookie sheet lined with parchment and spread it out evenly so it cools quickly. Chill it in refrigerator.

To prepare and serve

Preheat broiler. Wash and scrub oyster shells well. Place 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture in bottom of each shell. Top spinach with an oyster, then cover each oyster with 2 tablespoons of bingo sauce. Arrange oysters on a heatproof tray. If oysters are sliding around, line the tray with some crinkled aluminum foil. Broil oysters until they are heated through, golden brown and bubbling. Check them by inserting a cake tester or the tip of a paring knife. Serve three oysters per person on warmed plates with small forks. Enjoy!


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