The reason I love food blogging is that I get pushed, shoved, and prodded to cook foods that I never cook and eat foods I never eat. Good foods. Five star foods. Cooked in my own kitchen. It starts with a suggestion or someone else’s recipe that gets me curious and lifts me far away from my comfort zone, my culture, and elevates my taste buds.
Oysters Rockefeller is just one of those classic dishes, created in 1899 in New Orleans where food is king, especially rich seafood taken to great heights with sauces, often full of cream, butter and secret ingredients. This is that dish that no one knows the original recipe for. But for over 100 years, chefs have tried to duplicate the taste and create a recipe.
In my previous post of baked oysters for the Five Star Foodie Makeover, I was asked to blog a recipe for sustainable seafood. To my surprise, farmed oysters topped the list for a seafood that is considered super green (good for you and good for the ocean). Because I have been eating a bit trimmer these days, I made a very slimmed down version.
But then, I tossed and turned thinking, how bad can a little cream and butter be? And, after reading several recipes, I got a general idea of what approach to take. Most recipes call for shallots, butter, cream, pernod, and spinach, but the original recipe probably used parsley not spinach and that is why I used both baby spinach and parsley in a 3-1 ratio.
I didn’t have pernod or sambuca, so I used a white wine and fennel pollen to get that licorice taste. It may seem a bit obsessive to do two oyster recipes in a row, but I was just dying to taste the richness of this recipe. And, please note oysters are a super green sustainable choice, meaning good for the ocean and super good for you!
This recipe for Oysters Rockefeller is for a white table cloth night, one where you pull out the stops and serve those memorable classic dishes of yesterday.
Tell me do you have a favorite “old classic” or retro dish that you have good memories of?
Shuck oysters. See previous post for tips. Remember when purchasing oysters, keep them cold in fridge until use, but buy them the same day you are going to eat them. Don’t take any oysters home that are open and don’t immediately close when tapped. Use a shucking knife and gloves. Once open, do not pour out liquor (the natural juice of oyster).
Once you can shuck oysters, you can make all kinds of yummy appetizers.
- Preparation: shucking knife, towel, gloves, ice bath for spinach mixture
- 6-8 oysters, scrubbed, beard removed, shucked on half shell (Shucking tips here).
- 2 shallots, diced (about two tablespoons)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup pernod, sambuca, anisette (or white wine)
- ⅓ cup cream
- 2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 big handful chopped parsley
- ⅓ cup pecorino cheese
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon
- dash cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare ice bath for spinach.
- Put butter in pan, add shallot and cook just until translucent.
- Add garlic, cook for a minute or two. Add liquor or wine.
- Add cream and cook until thick and bubbly.
- Add spinach, salt, cayenne pepper and fresh thyme. If you are using fresh baby spinach leaves, just barely cook. Add parsley at end.
- To maintain bright green color, immediately put in ice bath to cool.
- Shuck oysters. See previous post for tips. Remember when purchasing oysters, keep them cold in fridge until use, but buy them the same day you are going to eat them. Don’t take any oysters home that are open and don’t immediately close when tapped. Use a shucking knife. Once open, do not pour out liquor (the natural juice of oyster).
- Arrange oysters in baking pan. I used a cast iron pan with course kosher salt, so oysters would stay in place add a drop of hot sauce to oyster.
- Spoon spinach to cover oyster and top with parmigiano reggiano and some bread crumbs. Bake at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with optional hot sauce, lemon wedges.