112 OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER | Hooks, Lies & Alibis with Chef John Folse | LPB
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Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings

New Orleans’ greatest culinary legacy to the world may indeed be Oysters Rockefeller. Jules Alciatore, owner of Antoine’s restaurant, created this dish in 1899 during a European snail shortage. With no snails for the escargots bourguignonne, oysters were simply substituted in the same delicious sauce. The broiled dish was so rich that Alciatore named it for John D. Rockefeller, one of the nation’s wealthiest men. On his deathbed, Alciatore demanded “eternal secrecy” from all who knew the recipe, and though many have come close to duplicating the original, Alciatore’s recipe is still the subject of intrigue.

3 dozen fresh-shucked oysters, liquid and shells reserved
6 cups rock salt
¼ pound butter
½ cup minced onions
½ cup minced celery
½ cup minced garlic
2 cups sliced green onion tops
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped watercress
6–8 cups medium-packed spinach leaves or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps Pernod or Herbsaint
¾ cup tomato ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F. Wash oyster shells well and scrape off any dirt. Place 1 cup rock salt on each plate and set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and minced garlic and sauté 3–5 minutes or until wilted. Add green onions, parsley, watercress and spinach leaves, blend well and cook until vegetables are wilted. Sprinkle in flour, pernod, ketchup and oyster liquid. Stir well and simmer 2–3 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and season to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Place contents of saucepan into bowl of a food processor and purée. If mixture becomes too loose, add 1–2 tablespoons flour to thicken slightly. Return to a mixing bowl, adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and granulated garlic if necessary and cool slightly. When ready to cook, place oyster shells on 2 large cookie sheets and place 1 oyster on center of each shell. Divide Rockefeller sauce equally over oysters. Place in oven and bake 10–15 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and place 6 oysters in a circle over rock salt on each plate. Serve with a cocktail fork.

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