This savory dish by Charleston, South Carolina's The Darling Oyster Bar is an Italian spin on a low-country classic. It uses local oysters, bacon and fresh ingredients like garlic, parsley and celery root. It's not just darling, it's also incredibly delicious!
Technique tip: Pasta water may be the most important ingredient in this dish. The water becomes starchy once the pasta is cooked in it and helps thicken the liquid.
Swap option: Making fresh pasta would be ideal here but dried does just fine. In addition to spaghetti, bucatini and linguini also work well.
- 1 pound spaghetti, cooked
- 16 oysters, shucked
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 pound celery root, par-blanched or raw and small-diced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Reserved pasta water, as needed
- Black pepper, as needed
- The cooking process for this dish happens quickly so you must have everything done before hand and make sure all ingredients are nearby.
- Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.
- Turn a large sauté pan to medium heat, after the pan gets hot, add some oil just enough to cover the bottom.
- Add celery root, capers and garlic. Watch the heat here, as you don’t want to brown your garlic at all. Gently cook for 1 minute then add bacon.
- Deglaze your pan with lemon juice and add a few splashes of pasta water. The reason you do this is because you don’t want to evaporate the lemon juice all the way and this is also the beginning of a sauce. You should have around a half inch of liquid in your pan.
- At this point add your cooked pasta and shucked oysters. You will now turn the heat up slightly and start to reduce your sauce. As your sauce is reducing, add butter and a healthy dash of fresh ground black pepper. This dish really doesn’t need salt because the pasta should already be seasoned from blanching it and the oysters are naturally salty.
- When reducing pasta you’re going to be looking to see if the sauce has reduced enough that at coats all the noodles but then doesn’t break. It should not look greasy or oily. You may need to add a few splashes of pasta water to the pan to help keep the sauce together. There shouldn’t be much liquid left in the pan.
- Garnish each bowl of pasta with roughly torn parsley leaves.