Over the years people have enjoyed Oysters Rockefeller but did you know that John D. Rockefeller whose name is synonymous with this recipe had never eaten Oysters Rockefeller. It is believed that he did not care for any type of shellfish. Oysters Rockefeller was created by Jules Alciatore, at Antoine’s in New Orleans in 1889. Jules was the son of the famous restaurateur Antoine Alciatore, owner of Antoine’s in New Orleans. Antoine’s opened in 1840 serving French Creole cuisine. Later, Mr. Alciatore introduced Escargot Bourguignon to his customers. It was the first and only restaurant in the U.S., at the time, serving this famous French dish. But as the years passed Escargot Bourguignon was being served at more restaurants throughout the U.S resulting in a shortage of snails being imported from France. Jules Alciatore, after inheriting the restaurant from his father, realized that he needed a new signature dish for Antoine’s. After much trial and error, and using some of his father’s ingredients for Escargot Bourguignon, he was able to use local food sources to create Oysters Rockefeller. Jules needed a name for his dish to market it to his affluent customers. At the time, the richest man in the US was John D. Rockefeller who better to name the new dish after a man synonymous with affluence and sophistication. Oysters Rockefeller was born. The recipe is a family secret.
Since we are unable to provide you with Antoine’s recipe, we discovered a great Cape Cod recipe for Oysters Rockefeller using Beach Point Oysters from Barnstable Harbor. You don’t have to travel to New Orleans to enjoy Oysters Rockefeller. You can enjoy them in your own home.
8 oysters shucked on the half shell (Beach Point Oysters from Barnstable Harbor)
1 tbsp. clarified butter
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced shallots
2 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves (or frozen spinach)
1 tbsp. Pernod
1 tbsp. grated Romano cheese
Pinch of cayenne pepper
6 drops of Tabasco
1 tbsp. heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup Hollandaise Sauce
Dash paprika and lemon wedges for garnish
Shuck oysters. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a saute pan or skillet, heat the butter and saute the garlic and shallots for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and saute until limp. Drain the excess liquid. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add Pernod, cheese, cayenne, and Tabasco. Puree until smooth.
Blend together the whipped cream and hollandaise.
Place each oyster in the deeper of its 2 shells and set them on a bed of rock salt in a baking pan. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon of pureed greens. Bake in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Top each oyster with 1 teaspoon of creamy hollandaise and bake for 1 minute. Dust with a little paprika. Serve immediately.
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