3/4 cup Watercress firmly packed sprigs (discard coarse stems) and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups Baby Spinach firmly packed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons Scallions (greens only) finely chopped
2 tablespoons Parsley
- finely chopped
3 tablespoons Bread Crumbs coarsely chopped (preferably from day old bread)
3 1/2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 teaspoon Pernod or other Anise-Flavored Liquor
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
3 slices Bacon
10 cups Kosher Salt for baking and serving
20 small Oysters on the half shell (oysters should be picked over for shell fragments and shells well scrubbed)
Toss together watercress, spinach, scallion greens, parsley, celery, and 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. bread crumbs in a bowl.
Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add watercress mixture and cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in Pernod, salt and pepper to taste and cayenne pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and chill, covered, until cold, about 1 hour.
Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
While watercress mixture chills, cook bacon in cleaned skillet over moderate heat, turning, until crisp, then drain on paper towels and finely crumble.
Spread 5 cups Kosher salt in a large shallow baking pan (about 1 inch deep) and nestle oysters (in shells) in it. Spoon watercress mixture evenly into oysters, then top with crumbled bacon and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons bread crumbs.
Bake oysters until edges of oysters begin to curl and bread crumbs are golden, about 10 minutes.
Serve warm oysters in shells, on a platter nestled in remaining salt.