This renowned dish, Oysters Rockefeller, first appeared at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans in 1899 by the proprietor, Jules Alciatore. According to legend, the dish was created as a substitute for baked French snails which weren’t available at that time.
The following recipe is the old Delmonico Restaurant’s take on the dish along with some changes and additions of my own. Because of the sauce’s intense richness, it was named in honor of John D. Rockefeller, a very wealthy man of that era.
So, did John D. Rockefeller ever eat the dish that was his namesake? Probably not. According to my research, it was said he was a “meat and potatoes” man who preferred to dine at home.
Oysters Rockefeller (Be A Name Dropper)
3 TbspButter unsalted
1Scallion (finely chopped)
1 cloveGarlic (finely chopped)
1/4Onion yellow small (finely chopped)
1/2 tspThyme leaves (chopped)
1 tspVinegar red wine
1/2 tspHot sauce
1 cupCream heavy
2 cupsSpinach (chopped)
4 oz. plusParmigiano-reggiano cheese grated
Kosher salt and black pepperTo taste
Panko Bread CrumbsTo garnish
Coarse rock saltFor pans
Enter Target Time _______________
Time: __________ (60 minutes prior to target time)
In a small skillet melt 3 oz. of butter and sweat the scallions, garlic, and onions (2 minutes) over med-high heat.
Add the thyme leaves and ground anise.
Add the Sambuca and deglaze until alcohol burns off.
Add red wine vinegar and hot sauce.
Add cream and reduce to ½ (should take about 2-3 minutes). Note: It should coat the back of a spoon, or when the pan is moved, the sauce should move as one.
Add spinach and turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Add cheese. Once incorporated, turn into a pan in an ice bath. Note: Can be made up the day before.
Fill the bottom of a baking dish or sheet with rock salt about 1⁄4” deep.
Rinse oysters in cold water.
Shuck oysters placing oysters and liquor in small bowl.
Nestle deeper half of an oyster shell onto bed of rock salt.
Place on oyster in each shell top with a bit of the liquor.
Put 1 Tbsp of filling over oysters and cover with shredded cheese. Dust with bread crumbs.
Set oven to 450 degrees. Place oysters on center rack and cook for 8 minutes.
Set oven to Broil. Put on upper rack and brown for about 4 minutes.
Serve with a knife to cut through the cheese, and a small spoon.
Serving Ideas: Serve with Champagne.