Oysters Rockefeller are a classic New Orleans appetizer with a tasty topping baked over oysters in their shell. Here they're lightened up but packed with flavor.
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The last couple of years, Mardi Gras/Carnival has crept up on me and before I know it, it's been and gone. Then I realize I haven't managed to look into any typical festive dishes. Again. This year, however, I decided to change that, hence me making crawfish etouffee not too long ago.
I also came across these oysters Rockefeller which as soon as I saw them, I had to try. And as I expected, they were delicious.
Sadly my husband seems to have developed an allergy to oysters over the last few years. It's obviously not a big challenge, as they're not something you have every day, but it was something we would get now and then when out.
It feels a little weird ordering myself (though I sometimes do, like when I first had oysters Kilpatrick). Although to be honest, since we usually go places that work for the kids, they haven't tended to be a typical option on the menu.
Our local fish shop sells them and I sometimes think I should get them to have at home as a treat as part of lunch. Coming across this way of preparing them was the perfect excuse. I had to try them so I could share the recipe, of course.
What are Oysters Rockefeller?
Oysters Rockefeller are the creation of a New Orleans restaurant and the original recipe is a secret to this day. The topping on the oysters was considered so rich, the dish was named after the richest person of the day, John D Rockefeller.
Although there are variations, the topping generally includes a mix of greens including spinach, pernod, and is topped with cheese and/or breadcrumbs.
Steps to make these tasty oysters
Despite the aura surrounding them, these are actually pretty easy to make, well at least in this version. I've made them a little less rich (and so healthier) than some versions but still full of flavor.
- Chop the greens and open the oysters so they sit in the larger half of the shell.
- Soften the garlic in a little butter then add the greens.
- Season the mixture with the pernod, lemon and hot sauce and cook a minute or two to cook off the liquid.
- Spoon this on top of the oysters in their half shell.
- Top with a little parmesan and bake.
Typically you sit them in a bed of rock salt to keep them level, but rather than waste a lot of salt, you can also scrunch up some foil and put this in your baking dish and it works in the same way.
See the video to walk you through it, including shucking an oyster!
Oysters Rockefeller have so much flavor and are a wonderfully indulgent little bite. I can see why they are often served as part of Mardi Gras celebrations, but they would fit in at any party when you want to impress your guests with a little something special.
Or if you're like me and you only get to enjoy oysters occasionally on your own, that works too. Take any excuse to give these a try.
Try these other tasty seafood appetizers:
- New England style stuffed clams
- Scallops with cranberry bacon jam
- Salmon gravlax
- Baked mussels
- Plus I can't wait to try Garlic and Zest's Mardi Gras grilled oysters.
- Plus get more ideas in the appetizer recipes archives.
- 6 oysters
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ cup watercress or use arugula/rocket
- 1 scallion/spring onion
- ½ clove garlic (small)
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon pernod
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon parmesan finely grated
- Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Lightly scrunch a piece of foil and put it in a baking dish big enough to hold all of your oysters so it covers the dish.
- First, shuck the oysters and loosen the meat from the shell. Pour off the liquid, setting it aside. Place the oysters on the foil in the baking dish so they are sitting flat.
- Roughly chop the spinach, watercress or arugula/rocket and thinly slice the scallion/spring onion. Finely chop the garlic.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet/frying pan. Add the spinach, watercress/arugula, scallion and garlic. Cook, stirring for a couple minutes so everything softens and the liquid largely evaporates.
- Add the pernod, lemon juice and hot sauce. Stir through and cook a minute more so the liquid evaporates then remove from the heat.
- Spoon a heaped teaspoon over each oyster then top with a little parmesan.
- Bake for approx 8-12 mins until the top is lightly browned.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See more appetizer recipes to try:
- Drunken Asparagus with Feta and Prosciutto by Wholistic Woman
- Ham and Mustard Spirals by Food Lust People Love
- Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pear Bites by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Lime Shrimp Cups by Our Good Life
- Mini Crab Cakes by My Savory Spoon
- Shrimp Martini by Palatable Pastime
- Southwestern Shrimp Spring Rolls by The Freshman Cook