Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oysters Rockefeller

I have always wanted to make baked oysters, ever since I was a young girl and read M.F.K. Fisher’s Consider The Oyster, a mini masterpiece about the bivalve. In the spring, I am teaching this book in my Food Writing class at St. Joseph’s University, so I decided this winter that the oyster would be my pet project.

Luckily, Oysters Rockefeller calls for cheese...Parmesan sprinkled over the top. I searched all over for recipes – it seems every famous chef, from Julia Child to Emeril Lagasse, espouses a different version. (Lagasse’s recipe requires green food coloring. Ix Nay.) Most involve oysters, breadcrumbs, spinach, and a splash of Pernod. Yee-haw.

I can’t seem to make any recipe without tweaking it, so my version below is a mélange – I based it on the original, from Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans, then gleaned a few ideas from epicurious,com, which features 5 different versions.

All this goes to say: these were the hit of our family Christmas dinner. With a little champagne, this put everyone in a loving mood. I think I will make this a tradition, as everyone was very eager to help peel potatoes in the kitchen once we’d had a round of bubbly and oysters. On a snowy day, it was a perfect afternoon snack.

Oyster’s Rockefeller

2 cup fresh spinach, loosely chopped

½ cup chopped scallions

1 garlic clove

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

1 stick melted butter

½ cup dry breadcrumbs

2 Tablespoons Pernod (or Pastis)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Splash of hot sauce

15 oysters (local, if possible)

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Combine first nine ingredients in a food processor (or finely chop everything) – you don’t want to grind this too intensely; there should be some chunky bits. Then find a family member with a strong forearm to shuck the oysters, leaving the little mollusk on the half shell. A Madeleine pan makes for a great platter and will keep you from spilling the coveted oyster liquor.

Preheat the oven to 450. Then, top each oyster with 1 Tablespoon of the filling and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes. (If you have leftover filling, you can make a divine nibble by toasting it on a baguette.

Serve with lemon wedges, bubbly, and a broad grin.


  1. Thank you for this post! It looks delicious, and I am eager to try it soon!

    Miss Cheesemonger

  2. asdasdasdasdasdasd