Grilled Oysters Rockefeller
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Oysters Rockerfeller is no exception. Circa 1889 in New Orleans, restauranteur Jules Alciatore had a problem on his hands: an escargot shortage. Quick thinking and improvisation concocted a runaway success on the spot, persisting to this very day — it's said a customer that night proclaimed, "Why, it's as rich as Rockerfeller!" We leaned on Chef Tony's Southern training and Italian heritage to jazz up this brunch classic, which provides 4 entrees or 24 appetizers.
PREP 30 min COOK 45 min READY IN 1 hr15 min Serves 4–24 people
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Herbsaint liqueur or Pernod liqueur
- 1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach leaves, minced
- 1 tbsp capers, drained, rinsed and minced
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- 2 sprigs tarragon, stemmed and minced
- 1 rib celery, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot each, minced
- ¼ yellow onion, minced
- Salt (to taste)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
- black pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp fennel seed powder
- ¼ ground lavender flower powder or ground lavender tea
- 2–4 dashes tabasco sauce
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
- 2 dozen oysters on the half-shell (or artificial shell)
- lemon slices or wedges (to garnish)
- Add the butter and flour to a large pan over medium heat and sauté, stirring constantly for 3–5 minutes; you’re looking for the mixture to turn golden-brown.
- Toss in the spinach, capers, parsley, tarragon, celery, garlic, shallot, and yellow onion. Bring it all to a simmer, then stir occasionally for 10–15 minutes (or until very thick).
- Deglaze with the liqueur and lower the temperature to medium-low.
- Once thickened, it’s time to give the dish its punch. Add the salt, cayenne powder, black pepper, white pepper, fennel seed powder, lavender flower powder and tabasco sauce. Stir and cook for another minute, then remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Pour this mixture into a food processor bowl, pureeing thoroughly until very smooth. Once pureed, move it to a mixing bowl and fold the panko crumbs into the mixture until incorporated throughout.
- Set your grill up for direct heat grilling, then preheat to medium-high heat.
- While the grill preheats, pour enough rock salt into 1 or 2 sheet pans (depending on how many batches you will be making) to stabilize and level the oyster shells. Space out 12 oyster half-shells — alternatively, 12 oiled ceramic or metal shells — across the salt, while ensuring that they’re all level. If not already done, place your raw oysters in the shells
- At this point, you have a few choices: you can use a large spoon to top each oyster with the prepared mixture, or you can pour the mixture into a piping bag with a half-inch fluted tip and pipe the mixture over the oysters. Fill each shell until level with the top of the shell, or slightly over, and they’re ready for the grill!
- If you’re feeling like going all-out, you can char your lemon slices or wedges to be used as a garnish before grilling the Rockefeller. For bestresults, you’ll want to do this right before the oysters start cooking.
- Using high-heat gloves, set your oyster shells directly on the cooking grids and close the lid for about a minute. After, pop it back open and continue grilling the oysters until bubbling and browned with crispy edges.
- Carefully remove the oysters from the grill, garnish with lemon slices or wedges, and serve immediately!