Oysters Rockefeller is one of the most beloved recipes to ever come out of the magnificent city of New Orleans. What’s not to love about fresh oysters lightly broiled under a silken green blanket of herbs, butter, bread crumbs and cheese? There’s only one small problem…
…nobody actually KNOWS the true recipe for this favored dish!
As noted from Wikipedia:
Oysters Rockefeller was created at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s in 1899 by Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder.
The dish was named oysters Rockefeller after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, for the intense richness of the sauce and its dollar bill green color.
Though the original recipe is a secret, the sauce is known to be a puree of a number of green vegetables and herbs other than spinach. It is estimated that Antoine’s has served over three million, five hundred thousand orders.
Though many restaurants now serve dishes claiming to be oysters Rockefeller, Antoine’s assets that no other restaurant has been able to successfully duplicate the recipe. Since the recipe for oysters Rockefeller was passed down from Jules Alciatore to his children, and has apparently never left the family’s hands, competing restaurants have had to formulate their own recipes.
Since only Antoine’s knows the “correct” recipe and since I’ve had the privilege of eating their version, this is my take on the recipe adjusted to my specific taste. If you don’t like it – make your own version, it will be equally inauthentic. 😉
I follow the classic assumption that the recipe has no spinach in it (despite so many pretender recipes that do use it). I use several different herbs with a hint of anise flavor that a proper oysters Rockefeller should have.
I then up the anise ante by adding a touch of Absinthe (every modern recipe I’ve seen uses Herbsaint or Pernod liqueur, but the original 19th century recipe almost assuredly used Absinthe). Don’t worry, Citizens – the tall tale that Absinthe makes you insane is just that. It is a delicious addition to the recipe and one I heartily endorse.
Enjoy this delectable and rich dish for yourselves, my Citizens – it is well worth the time, the calories and the effort. 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Oysters Rockefeller Sauce
7 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup finely chopped chervil (or use parsley if unavailable)
2 tbsp. finely chopped tarragon
A handful of celery leaves, chopped
2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
2 tbsp. finely chopped capers
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Tabasco, a few dashes or to taste
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. Absinthe (my strongly preferred brand is C.F. Berger or use Herbsaint or Pernod)
½ cup grated Gruyère cheese
24 small to medium-sized oysters, opened and liquor reserved if pre-opened
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp. melted butter, for bread crumb topping
Coarse salt, for balancing the shells for baking and serving
Lemon wedges and tarragon sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Oysters Rockefeller Sauce:
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place all pan ingredients in blender with all other remaining ingredients. Blend to a purée. The sauce should be dollar bill green – if not, add additional parsley or chervil (preferred) to achieve the correct color.
Set oven rack on the second highest rung in oven – you really don’t want to broil the oyster directly under broiler. Preheat broiler. Fill baking sheet with coarse salt.
Shuck oysters, leaving the oyster and its juices in the bottom shell.
To make the bread crumb topping: Combine bread crumbs and melted butter.
Top each oyster with a spoonful of sauce and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumb topping.
Broil oysters until just cooked through and bread crumb topping is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. To serve, place baked oysters on a serving dish with coarse salt so that the oysters remain upright. Garnish the serving dish with lemon wedges and sprigs of tarragon, if desired.