Oysters Rockefeller is a dish served in restaurants across the United States. The dish originated from a very famous restaurant in New Orleans called Antoine’s, founded in 1840. The specifics of their recipe have been shrouded in secrecy since they first served the dish in 1899. Rockefeller himself was the wealthiest man in the US at that time. The name makes perfect sense when you eat this dish ... it's extremely rich! I was lucky enough to eat Oysters Rockefeller at Antoine’s in the early 90's when I was working in New Orleans. They were sensational and lived up to their billing as the restaurant's signature dish. Anyway, here's my version. Good qualtiy Pacific oysters lend themselves beautifully to this recipe, and actually you could use this topping on most shellfish to great effect. Remember to hold onto the rock salt in this recipe, as it's fine to be used over and over again.
Serves as many people as you can stretch 4 dozen oysters to!
Step 1: Rockefeller Topping
On a chopping board, using your sharpest knife, chop the fresh herbs and celery leaves separately as fine as you possibly can. Place in a bowl. Now add the softened butter, grated parmesan, breadcrumbs, pernod and Tabasco. With clean hands work the ingredients together until all incorporated.
Step 2: Set up, Cooking and Serving
Pour half the rock salt into a shallow-sided baking dish. Take your oysters in the half shell and gently place the shell in the salt so they stand up by themselves. If the oysters are out of the shell my suggestion would be to purchase some Asian soup spoons and use these as an alternative to the shell. You won't need salt with these as they are freestanding.
Top each oyster with a generous portion of the Rockefeller topping. Place the oysters under the grill on a high heat and cook for a minute or two, until the topping begins to golden and the sides of the oyster begin to curl slightly.
Serve the oysters in a dish on the remaining rock salt. Leave them to cool for a couple of minutes - this prevents burnt lips!
Photography by Kieran Scott