This is one of those appetizers that people look at and say “Wow!”…then they try one, and really say “Wow, oh wow!”
They are so delicious, and really not difficult to prepare. Make it easy on yourself and get the oysters scrubbed and shucked at your local fish-market. You’ll just need to run a knife under the meat of the oyster to disconnect it from the shell. Whip up the spinach mixture and bake for about 15 minutes and serve on top of course salt, like rock salt or sea salt. And you’ve got a dish that folks will be talking about for years to come.
HOW TO MAKE OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER
As mentioned, these really are simple to prepare, and the filling can even be made in advance.
But, you may be wondering where the name Oysters Rockefeller came from. Learn more about that here.
Now, let’s get back to making this richly delicious appetizer. It all starts with the blanched spinach. Blanch is in boiling water, then cool it off, then pat it dry, then chop it up.
The sauce is deeply flavorful.
We love using Pernod liqueur for a slight licorice taste.
It’s optional, but we think it’s really good and doesn’t overpower the flavor profile and is a wonderful match to the oysters.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT OYSTERS
You really can’t go with a bad oyster for this dish.
Of course, the fresher the better.
We recommend checking with your local fish market and asking for the freshest oysters. And go ahead and have them shuck them for you and save the oyster liqueur (the liquid inside the oysters).
Place the topping on the oysters and then bake them to perfection!
Ready to truly impress with the most elegant appetizer in town? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag #howtofeedaloon!
- 6 oz spinach stems removed and rinsed
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter 8 for filling and 2 for the bread crumb crumb topping
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves cloves minced, plus an additional clove minced, for bread crumb topping
- ¼ cup Pernod or Herbsaint or other anise-flavored liqueur
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- Hot sauce ie, Tobasco, several dashes
- ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs divided
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 12 oysters on the half shell
- Coarse salt such as 'rock' or coarse sea salt (about 4 cups)
MAKE THE TOPPING
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
- Add the spinach and cook until very tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the spinach in a colander set over a large bowl and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Cool the spinach in an ice bath, or let sit until cool enough to handle, and then finely chop and set aside.
- Melt the butter (1 stick) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add the reserved spinach water and bring to a boil.
- Add the chopped spinach, liqueur, salt, pepper and several dashes of the hot sauce.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the mixture reduces slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and mix in the 1/2 cup bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
- Meanwhile, make the bread crumb topping by melting the extra 2 tablespoons butter in a small pan. Add the extra garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Mix in the 1/4 cup of extra bread crumbs. Remove from heat.
PREPARE THE OYSTERS
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread a ¼-inch layer of the coarse salt on a large baking sheet, as well as your serving platter.
- Arrange the oysters on the baking sheet and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture.
- Top each with a pinch of the bread crumb topping mixture.
- Bake until slightly browned on top and sauce is bubbling at the edges of the oysters, about 20 minutes.
- Using tongs or a spatula, carefully transfer the hot shells to the salt-covered platter.