I love oysters on the half shell, but if they're too big and briny they can kinda make me gag. But, the big ones are good for one thing: Oysters Rockefeller.
Oysters Rockefeller were created at the famous Antoine's, owned by Antoine Alciatore, in New Orleans and were named after the richest man at the time, John D. Rockefeller. Antoine's son, Jules, came up with the recipe when there was a shortage of escargot. While there are many versions of this dish the original recipe has never left the family vault, even former employees keep their lips sealed. They've been serving up their famous Oysters Rockefeller since 1899.
The original recipe purportedly contains no spinach, but instead a bunch of fresh herbs and parsley. We also added a bit of Parmesan cheese to our version. I found this recipe after making our own spinach version:
- Two dozen fresh oysters on the half shell, oyster liquor reserved
- 4 springs flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 4 green onions
- A handful of fresh celery leaves
- 6 or more fresh tarragon leaves
- 6 or more fresh chervil leaves
- 1/2 cup dried fresh French bread crumbs, unseasoned
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (Rockefeller was rich and so are these!)
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Tabasco, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Pernod
- Rock salt
Finely mince the parsley, green onions and the herbs. In a mortar, mix the herbs with the breadcrumbs, softened butter, and any remaining oyster liquor until you have a textured paste. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco and Pernod.
Spread about a 1/4 inch of rock salt in an oven-safe dish and set the oysters on top, making sure they're level. The salt will help keep the oysters from sliding around and also make a pretty presentation. Spoon an equal amount of the herb butter paste on top of each oyster. Place on the middle rack under the broiler and broil until the edges of the oysters curl and the herb butter paste bubbles, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
I wonder what dish Warren Buffet would inspire?