Named for the inimitable John D. Rockefeller, this recipe was created in a New Orleans kitchen in 1899. Jules Alciatore developed the dish to address a shortage of escargot; the locally-available oysters provided a suitable substitute. The dish is characterized by a special green sauce and the inclusion of bread crumbs, which are then baked or broiled. The green sauce recipe has never been revealed in an official capacity, but it likely includes a purée of green vegetables, parsley, celery, chives, and capters.
Simple but indulgent, this is a great way to eat oysters.
18 fresh oysters (on the half shell)
3 tbs of butter
6 tbs of finely-chopped fresh spinach leaves
1.5 tbs finely-chopped onion
1.5 tbs finely-chopped parsley
2.5 tbs breadcrumbs
Tabasco sauce to taste
½ tsp of Pernod (or another anise-flavored spirit)
½ tsp salt
Lemon wedges (for garnish)
- Use an oyster knife to open the shells and remove the oysters. Discard the top shells, but scrub and dry the bottoms. Drain the oysters over a bowl to reserve excess liquids.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the spinach, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Pernod, and salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Press this mixture through a sieve and let cool. You may make this mixture ahead of time and keep refrigerated until use.
- Preheat your broiler. In the meantime, line an ovenproof plate with a layer of rock salt (1” thick). Set oysters in the rock salt, placing a bit of the reserved liquid on each oyster. Then, spoon an equal amount of the prepared spinach mixture over each oyster, spreading to the rim of the shell. Add breadcrumbs.
- Broil for approximately 5 minutes (or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping begins to bubble).
- Garnish serving plates with parsley springs and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.