Fresh oysters on the half shell coated in cream, prosciutto ham, spinach and cheese for an unbelievable flavor that is sure to wow your guests.
This is a very classic delicious shellfish recipe that has been served up on fine dining menus for the past century throughout America. It’s very easy to make, once the oysters are shucked, and there isn’t a more elegant seafood appetizer out there when it comes to entertaining gusts.
WHAT IS IT
You may be wondering to yourself what is this anyways? It’s a delicious cooked oyster on the half shell coated in a buttery sauce with parsley, herbs and breadcrumbs. It was created by a chef in New Orleans who was all out of snails for escargot and decided to dig into that regions abundance of oysters and recreate the same dish, only using oysters.
I of course learned how to make it in a fancier way loaded up with cream, cheese, spinach, pork and other goodies. I have had the original recipe as it is simply an escargot but with oysters which includes garlic butter, herbs and breadcrumbs.
- CHEF NOTE: There are several variations of this recipe out there, I however think mine is one of the best!
WHAT RESTAURANT INVENTED IT
The name of the chef that created this classic in New Orleans is Chef Jules Alciatore and the restaurant’s name was “Antiones.” Miraculously enough, Antoines restaurant is still around to this day.
HOW DID IT GET IT’S NAME
Once Chef Jules recreated a classic escargot recipe from fresh oysters on the half shell he decided with it’s extremely rich creamy flavor to name it after the richest man at that time, Rockefeller. So obviously in the end, you get “Oysters Rockefeller.”
WHERE ARE MOST OYSTERS HARVESTED
You can get oysters from all around the world, but in the United States a huge portion of them come from the east to Northeast coast and into Canada. From the Rappahannock in Virginia up to the Blue Point, which is what I used in this recipe, in New York.
- CHEF NOTE: I personally believe the best come from colder waters which is why I prefer the ones that grow in the Northeast.
HOW TO MAKE IT
STEP 1: The first part to making this is shucking the oysters. You do this by holding the oyster in 1 hand in a towel and wedging the shucking knife into a gap in the shell and slowly working the knife up and down and back and forth until it opens.
- CHEF TIP: Be very careful doing this as it can be dangerous working with the shucker knife and putting to much pressure into the oyster.
STEP 2: When making this, I like to caramelize up some garlic and onions and then reduce some cream until it becomes super thick, like an alfredo sauce.
STEP 3: From there I fold in some baby spinach and cook it over low heat until just wilted but not mushy.
STEP 4: While you keep that tasty cream sauce warm you want to gently and quickly cook the shucked oysters in some olive oil and then braise in some chardonnay wine.
- CHEF NOTE: The wine just helps bring this to the next level but it’s not necessary.
STEP 5: Once everything is cooked, you place the cooked oyster back on the half shell, top off with the spinach and cream, add on some asiago cheese, bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese then off to the oven to broil them and brown them.
STEP 6: Serve
WHY DO YOU PUT IT ON ROCK SALT
You put oysters on rock salt so that they hold into place without tipping over, which would result in all the goodies on top to slide off. In addition it will help them back evenly in the oven when cooking several at a time.
- CHEF TIP: I had some pretty flat oysters, which seem to be the case for blue points, so I did not use rock salt in this recipe.
HOW TO SERVE IT
There is really no said way to serve this up, but I obviously do it alongside some lemon wedges and sprinkle on some micro-greens. I always suggest making a lot simply because it takes some time and energy to shuck them so no reason to go through all of that trouble to make 6.
I like to make 24 at a time. This is a great appetizer to serve during the holidays or in the summer and you can grill it.
MORE EASY SEAFOOD RECIPES
Here are some more easy seafood recipes that you’ll absolutely love!
REHEATING STEAK OYTERS ROCKEFELLER: Add the oysters to a pan, cover with foil and bake in the oven at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until hot and the cheese has re-melted.
STORING AND FREEZING OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER: Store the them covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. They will actually freeze well covered tightly for up to 2 months. It is best if you freeze them raw before the procedure of placing them under the broiler. To reheat frozen raw, simply place on a sheet tray and bake in the oven at 400° for 18-20 minutes.
*If you love this recipe then these Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos are a must try, and be sure to drop me a comment below and a rating if you’ve had the chance to make this amazing recipe*
Oysters Rockefeller Recipe
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided use
- 1/2 whole small diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 cups packed baby spinach
- 24 whole shucked oysters on the half shell oysters and shells divided
- 1/4 cup chardonnay wine
- 2 ounces julienne prosciutto ham
- 2 ounces shredded asiago cheese
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat the broiler to high heat. In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, caramelize the onions and garlic. Once brown add in the cream, turn the heat down to medium and reduce until the cream is the consistency of Alfredo sauce.
- Once the heavy cream is to the desired consistency add in the baby spinach and cook until mixed in and slightly wilted. Season the mixture with salt and cracked black pepper. Set pan aside.
- In a separate medium sauté pan on medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil add in the raw oysters (without the shell) and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes to slightly cook. Add the Chardonnay wine to deglaze the pan while you sauté the oysters for a further 2 minutes.
- Place the oyster shells on a sheet pan that you’ve lined with parchment paper and divide the cooked oysters amongst the shells. There should be 1 oyster for 1 shell.
- Top each oyster with a little bit of the cream-baby spinach mixture followed up with julienne prosciutto ham and shredded Parmesan cheese. Note: Simply divide all the ingredients between the oysters.
- Broil the pan of oysters in the oven on high for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- To Plate: Remove oysters and shells from the pan and add to a tray along with lemon slices.
- There are several variations of oysters Rockefeller out there, I however think my oysters Rockefeller is one of the best!
- I personally believe the best oysters come from colder waters which is why I prefer the ones that grow in the Northeast.
- Be very careful when shucking as it can be dangerous working with the oyster shucker knife and putting to much pressure into the oyster.
- The wine just helps bring the oysters Rockefeller to the next level but it’s not necessary.