Direct From the KBC Kitchen
History of Oysters Rockefeller
There is a bit of controversy over the original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller. What we do know is that it was invented by Jules Alciatore. He was the second-generation proprietor of Antoine’s restaurant in New Orleans. What we don’t know, however, is what exactly went into the original dish—just that there was a wealth of bright green herbs. We know also that it got its name from the fact that it was “green” (like money) and “rich” with flavor, which suggested wealth—like John D. Rockefeller himself.
In today’s recipes, we find a host of impostors that received their inspiration from the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe. These recipes may have ingredients that mask oysters in Parmesan cheese, parading around with pale artichoke hearts, or cavorting with anchovy paste.
Here is our favorite recipe for Oysters Rockefeller from one of KBC’s founders, Jeff Myers.
Oysters Rockefeller Recipe—Maryland Eastern Shore Style
Serves Eight as a First Course
- Oil to coat pan
- Freshly Shucked Oysters (24)
- Shallots (2 tablespoons, minced)
- Apple Wood Smoked Bacon (3 slices)
- Anisette (1/4 cup)
- White Wine (1/4 cup)
- Heavy Cream (1 quart)
- Fresh Baby Spinach (2-one pound bags, cleaned and de-stemmed)
- Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare a baking sheet with coarse salt to keep oysters from tipping.
Place 24 freshly shucked oysters upright in salted baking pan.
Heat saucepan over medium heat; add oil. When warm, add shallots and bacon; stir to cook.
Cook until shallots are translucent and bacon is cooked.
Add Anisette, and carefully add a flame.
When flame is extinguished, add wine and reduce liquid by 1/2 over medium heat.
Add cream and spinach and reduce by 1/2. Season to taste with S&P.
Remove bacon (mixture has captured the flavor).
Spoon over shucked oysters and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Place in pre-heated broiler (midlevel) until cream is golden (NOT burned!) about 5 minutes.
Remove, serve, and enjoy with a nice Chardonnay…
How to Shuck an Oyster
Any well-equipped and well-designed kitchen will have some special features and tools. While most leave the oyster shucking to the professionals, experienced oyster lovers often find pleasure in opening their own oysters and may spend a small fortune on a high quality oyster knife. There are two key considerations when choosing an oyster knife: Design (is the overall design of the blade and handle optimal for the size and type of oyster); and Materials Quality (did the knife-maker choose high quality materials that will go the distance, or did he cut corners, leaving you with a knife that will soon fail). Pictured are some examples of oyster shucking knives. An oyster shucking knife is a tool that will come in handy when making Oysters Rockefeller.
However, to have the proper tools only gets you so far. You have to know how to use them as well.
Below is a video demonstrating proper oyster shucking techniques. With properly shucked oysters you are now ready to apply to Jeff’s wonderful Oysters Rockefeller recipe.