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Oysters Rockefeller: A Classic Dish with a Rich History

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard of Oysters Rockefeller. This dish is a classic New Orleans recipe that has been enjoyed for over a century.

It's a baked oyster dish that's topped with a rich sauce made of butter, parsley, and other herbs, and bread crumbs. The dish is named after John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men in American history.

A platter of oysters Rockefeller sits on a bed of rock salt, topped with green herbs and a rich, creamy sauce, surrounded by lemon wedges

The dish was invented by Jules Alciatore, the son of Antoine Alciatore, the founder of Antoine's, one of the oldest and most famous restaurants in New Orleans.

The original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller is a closely guarded secret, and many restaurants have their own versions of the dish. However, the basic ingredients remain the same: oysters, butter, spinach, parsley, bread crumbs, and herbs.

If you've never tried Oysters Rockefeller before, you're missing out on a true culinary delight. This dish is perfect for special occasions or when you want to impress your guests with your cooking skills.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history of Oysters Rockefeller, as well as the preparation and cooking methods used to make this delicious dish.

Key Takeaways

  • Oysters Rockefeller is a classic New Orleans recipe that's been enjoyed for over a century.
  • The dish is named after John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men in American history.
  • The original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller is a closely guarded secret, but the basic ingredients remain the same.

Preparation and Ingredients

A table set with fresh oysters, spinach, herbs, and a platter of assorted cheeses and breadcrumbs

Selecting and Shucking Oysters

Before you can begin making Oysters Rockefeller, you need to select and shuck the oysters.

When selecting oysters, look for ones that are tightly closed and have a fresh, briny smell. If the oyster is open, tap it and see if it closes; if it doesn't, discard it.

To shuck the oysters, you will need an oyster knife. Hold the oyster with a towel or glove to protect your hand, insert the knife into the hinge, and twist until the shell pops open. Cut the muscle that connects the two halves of the shell, remove the top shell, and run the knife under the oyster to release it from the bottom shell.

Ingredients Breakdown

The ingredients for Oysters Rockefeller include butter, spinach, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, rock salt, parsley, shallot, Pernod, breadcrumbs, panko, celery, bacon, fresh spinach, scallion, kosher salt, baby spinach, parmesan cheese, watercress, green herbs, and romano cheese.

The star of the dish is, of course, the oysters. You will also need butter to sauté the spinach and shallots, garlic for flavour, and lemon juice for acidity.

Salt and pepper are used to season the dish, and rock salt is used to stabilize the oysters on the baking sheet.

The sauce for Oysters Rockefeller is made with parsley, shallot, Pernod, breadcrumbs, and panko. You can also add celery and bacon for extra flavour.

Fresh spinach, scallion, kosher salt, baby spinach, parmesan cheese, watercress, and green herbs can be used to garnish the dish.

Creating the Sauce

To create the sauce for Oysters Rockefeller, you will need to combine the parsley, shallot, Pernod, breadcrumbs, and panko in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and well combined.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the breadcrumb mixture and cook for 2 minutes more.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Place the oysters on a baking sheet lined with rock salt and spoon the sauce over each oyster. Bake in a preheated oven until the sauce is bubbly and the oysters are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the Oysters Rockefeller hot with lemon wedges and garnish with fresh spinach, watercress, and green herbs.

Cooking and Serving

Oysters Rockefeller being prepared and served on a silver platter with a bed of rock salt and garnished with fresh herbs and lemon wedges

Baking the Oysters

To bake the oysters, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) and prepare a sheet pan lined with foil.

Using an oyster knife, shuck the fresh oysters and discard the top shell, leaving the oyster in the bottom half of the shell. Make sure to detach the oyster from the bottom shell using a spatula.

Prepare the spinach filling by sautéing chopped spinach and shallots in butter until tender. Add bread crumbs, grated parmesan, tarragon, and black pepper to the spinach mixture and mix well.

Spread a spoonful of the spinach filling over each oyster in its shell, then sprinkle some crumbled bacon and panko breadcrumbs on top.

Bake the oysters for 10-12 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and crisp. Serve hot with a dash of hot sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Oysters Rockefeller can be served as an appetizer or a main course. They pair well with a glass of white wine or vermouth.

To serve as an appetizer, place 2-3 baked oysters on a plate and garnish with fresh parsley. To serve as a main course, place 6-8 baked oysters on a plate and serve with a side salad or steamed vegetables.

For an elegant presentation, pipe the spinach filling onto the oysters using a pastry bag.

You can also grill the oysters instead of baking them for a smoky flavor. Simply place the oysters on the grill, shell-side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the oyster is tender.

To keep the oysters fresh, store them in the refrigerator in a covered container with a damp towel. Do not store them in water as this will kill the oysters.

When ready to serve, remove the oysters from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before baking or grilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

A platter of oysters Rockefeller surrounded by lemon wedges and garnished with fresh herbs

How do you whip up a classic Oysters Rockefeller?

To make a classic Oysters Rockefeller, you'll need fresh oysters, spinach, butter, breadcrumbs, and a few other ingredients.

First, you'll need to prepare the oysters by shucking them and placing them on a bed of rock salt. Then, you'll need to make the topping by sautéing spinach and other ingredients in butter and then blending them into a paste.

Finally, you'll spoon the paste onto the oysters and bake them in the oven until they're golden brown. For a more detailed recipe, check out this source.

What goes into making Oysters Rockefeller?

The ingredients in Oysters Rockefeller typically include fresh oysters, spinach, butter, breadcrumbs, and a variety of herbs and spices.

The exact recipe may vary depending on the chef, but the dish is generally characterised by its rich, savoury flavour and creamy texture. For a more detailed breakdown of the ingredients and preparation process, check out this source.

Where can I find the best Oysters Rockefeller close by?

If you're looking for the best Oysters Rockefeller in your area, your best bet is to do a quick online search or ask around for recommendations.

Many seafood restaurants and oyster bars offer this classic dish, and you're sure to find a variety of options to suit your taste. For more information on where to find the best Oysters Rockefeller near you, check out this source.

What's the story behind the creation of Oysters Rockefeller?

Oysters Rockefeller was first created in the late 1800s by a chef at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.

The dish was named after John D. Rockefeller, who was the wealthiest man in America at the time, and was intended to be a rich and indulgent tribute to his extravagant lifestyle.

The exact recipe for the dish has been a closely guarded secret for over a century, but it has since become a beloved classic of the seafood world. For more information on the history of Oysters Rockefeller, check out this source.

What distinguishes Oysters Rockefeller from raw oysters?

The main difference between Oysters Rockefeller and raw oysters is the preparation method.

While raw oysters are simply shucked and served on the half-shell, Oysters Rockefeller are topped with a rich, savoury mixture of spinach, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients before being baked in the oven. This gives the dish a unique flavour and texture that sets it apart from other oyster dishes. For more information on the differences between Oysters Rockefeller and raw oysters, check out this source.

What's the flavour profile of Oysters Rockefeller like?

Oysters Rockefeller is known for its rich, savoury flavour and creamy texture. The dish typically features a variety of herbs and spices, as well as a mixture of spinach, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients that give it a unique and complex flavour profile.

Some people describe the taste as being similar to a rich, buttery seafood bisque, while others compare it to a savoury quiche or tart. For more information on the flavour profile of Oysters Rockefeller, check out this source.