Oyster Rockefeller is a side dish or a starter that consists of oysters that are served in their half shell. A variety of ingredients can be used as toppings on the baked or broiled oysters to create a unique and different taste. According to tradition, the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe uses parsley or green herbs in a pureed sauce to bring out the freshness of the oysters. The dish is then covered with breadcrumbs to soak up the oyster juice and to provide a crunch to the dish.
History of Oyster Rockefeller
New Orleansrestaurant Antoine is first credited with this unique and tasty Oysters Rockefeller recipe. Chef Antoine Alciatore created the dish and the sauce to honor the richest American at the time, John D. Rockefeller. Originally, the sauce was a rich puree of several green vegetable but the actual recipe was a secret. Antoine’s still serves the dish in its original formulation and over three million customers have been served with the signature dish. In the early 1800s, a shortage of oysters forced the chef to substitute snails in the dish but this variation is not as popular as the original recipe. The original recipe is still a top secret even though many restaurants in New Orleans have started serving a similar dish. No one has been able to actually replicate the original green color of the dish even though many restaurants have tried.
Ingredients Used and Oyster Rockefeller Recipe Overview
The original recipe is still a top secret and Chef Jules Alciatore of Antoine left the recipe to his children who still guard the secret jealously. Food critics and gourmands from all over the world have tried to use substitutes like spinach, Herbsaint, Pernod and even absinthe to get the same beautiful green color but no one has actually managed to get the original dish or its flavor right. Most restaurants now use spinach in the recipe even though Antoine's chefs have repeatedly denied that the dish contains spinach. The actual dish is simple as it consists of oysters that are served on the half shell with a puree of parsley, celery, onions or chives, and capers in olive oil and garnished with bread crumbs. Several chefs have guessed that the unique flavor of the dish can be because of anise flavored liqueurs like herbsaint, absinthe or pastis and herbs like tarragon and chervil but no one is actually sure.
Serving and Eating Oyster Rockefeller
The dish is very easy to cook and serve. Oysters on the half shell are covered with a green sauce of herbs in olive oil and covered in breadcrumbs. The entire dish is baked or broiled and then served immediately. Variations on the dish include a bread and butter sauce with herbs, Worcestershire sauce, butter and brown sauce, etc.
Oysters are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. The basic sauce is also made with green vegetables which add to its nutritional value. Baking or broiling for less then ten minutes ensures that the Oysters Rockefeller dish is cooked through while still reserving its food value.