Pam’s Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters Rockefeller was created in 1889 at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine's by Chef Jules Alciatore. Jules developed the dish due to a shortage of escargot, substituting locally available oysters. The dish was named Oysters Rockefeller after John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest American at the time, for its extremely rich flavor profile. Check out my decadently delicious version of this classic using locally farmed Block Island oysters.
18 to 24 fresh oysters (depending on size)
½ cup dry white wine
¾ to 1 cup sea salt
4 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
2 tsp. Pernod or Sambuca (anise liqueur)
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese (or any good quality Swiss)
1 Tbsp. butter
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Scrub the oyster shells on both sides with a vegetable brush under cold running water to remove any debris. Place them in a single layer in a large deep skillet and pour the wine over them in the skillet. Cover and heat over medium high heat just until they pop open and remove from heat immediately. You can also shuck them raw, but this method is much easier and yields a beautiful product since you are cooking them anyway.
Spread the sea salt on a baking sheet with sides. Remove the top shell of each oyster, leaving the oyster meat in the larger bottom shell. Place on the salt lined cookie sheet.
Remove any leftover juices from the pan and set aside. Add the butter to the skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Add the Sambuca, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp. of the reserved cooking liquid and stir to combine. Gradually add the parmesan cheese.
Evenly distribute the spinach mixture on top of each oyster. Top each evenly with some of the Swiss cheese.
Melt the butter for the crumbs in the skillet and add crumbs, cooking over medium heat, stirring until they are lightly browned. Top each oyster with the crumbs and then, cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze the juice over all.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted and filling is hot and bubbly.