OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER – by Charlotte Fashion Plate
OMG!!! Oysters Rockefeller…a USA favorite…a rich and creamy blend of spinach, cheeses, and bacon on top of a juicy, plump oyster…what more could you ask for? I hope you will love this recipe as much as I loved creating it. The recipe is relatively easy…just a few simple steps…and they can be on your table in under thirty minutes!
I used Blue Point oysters from The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. for this recipe…I would suggest using these or an oyster similar in size and brininess. Ask your local fishmonger for substitutes if Blue Points are not available. This recipe will make about a dozen and a half oysters!
Oysters Rockefeller History:
1850 – Antoine Alciatore, the original owner of Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, made a specialty dish of snails called Snails Bourgignon which was very popular. The restaurant, located on Rue St. Louis in the New Orleans French Quarter, was opened in 1840, and Antoine’s is the country’s oldest family-run restaurant.
According to Antoine Restaurant’s web site:
In 1874, Antoine being in ill-heath, took leave of his family, with the management of the restaurant in his wife’s hands. He felt he had not much longer to live and wished to die and be buried in his birthplace in France. He told his wife he did not want her to watch him deteriorate and said as he left; “As I take boat for Marseilles, we will not meet again on earth.” He died within the year.
1899 – When Jules Alciatore took over the business, the taste for snails had subsided, and also there was a shortage of French snails. He wanted to use a local product in order to avoid any difficulty in procuring it. He choose oysters and adapted the snail recipe in 1899 to use the gulf oysters.
Jules Alciatore is known as a pioneer in the art of cooking oysters (as they were rarely cooked before this time). According to legend, it is said that a customer exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”
The dish was given the name Rockefeller because the green was the color of greenbacks and the whole dish was so rich that he wanted a name that would signify the “richest in the world.” The first name to come to his mind was John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), a name once connoted the absolute pinnacle of wealth and position. No other American dish has received so much praise and attention as Oysters Rockefeller.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 18 Blue Point Oysters or comparable oysters (shucked)
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 TBLS butter
- 11 oz. fresh (I used organic) spinach
- 1 small shallot finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- splash of white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio from Impero Wines)
- 4 TBLS heavy whipping cream
- 6 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese
- 6 oz. flaked or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 C Panko bread crumbs
- 2 TBLS butter
- fresh chopped parsley
- rock salt/coarse salt
- black pepper
- zest of one lemon
- lemon wedges
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut your bacon into tiny pieces. Cook to crispy. Place your spinach in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for a minute. Place on cutting board and chop into tiny pieces…reserve. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about a minute.
Add the chopped spinach. Season with pepper. You should NOT need to add additional salt…the butter and bacon will provide plenty. Pour in a splash of the white wine.
Add in the heavy whipping cream and combine…allow to cook for about two minutes…just enough to heat up the cream and allow the mixture to thicken just a bit. Add about one half of the crisp bacon pieces to the spinach mixture…stir to combine.
Remove pan from heat. In a small bowl, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Remove from microwave and add in the Panko bread crumbs…stir well to coat the breadcrumbs. Mix in a tablespoon of the fresh chopped parsley.
Grab a baking dish or pan. I used this flat cast iron pan from Lodge. It was perfect for making this recipe. Pour the rock/coarse salt on the bottom of the pan…this will help keep the oysters remain steady as you fill and bake. Arrange the oysters on the salt foundation.
Place one or two spoonfuls of the spinach mixture on top of each oyster.
Top the spinach mixture with the Parmesan and Gruyere. I just topped each one off with a few generous pinches.
Top the cheese with the Panko/butter mixture.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. You will notice that the cheese will melt and the breadcrumb topping will turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and top with lemon zest and a few of the leftover bacon pieces. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges. ENJOY!
TIP: You can definitely make these ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to bake…would be great for a party…be sure to make enough…your guests will love them!