When it comes to restaurant classics, Oysters Rockefeller is the king of seafood appetizers. You can still find it on many restaurant menus, but it's slowly disappearing from the culinary scene. The truth is it's easy to make and you'll amaze your friends and family with this ah-mazing appetizer.
During my career as a restaurant chef, Oysters Rockefeller was one of the more popular appetizers on my menu.
As with most restaurant-style dishes, Oysters Rockefeller is not difficult to make and with a little prep you’ll be amazing your friends with this ah-mazingly delicious dish.
What do I need to make Oysters Rockefeller?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Oysters Rockefeller. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
You can’t make Oysters Rockefeller without the oysters. And ordering oysters couldn’t be easier these days. I’ve been ordering my seafood online for some time now and I’ve just found a great source for fresh oysters, shipped right to your door.
My new source for oysters is Panacea Oysters delivered fresh from their Co-op in Crawfordville, Florida. My first order was for 50 oysters and I couldn’t have been happier with the quality of the oysters.
They were fresh and full of liquor (the liquid found in oysters).
Start by opening the oysters and place them on a sheet pan. I saved the excess liquid for my next recipe, Oyster Stew.
How do I open oysters?
The way any true oysterman or chef would open the oysters is with an oyster knife.
Lay the oyster flat in your hand and hold it in place. Insert the tip of the oyster knife into the “hinge” at the back of the oyster and gently twist the edge of the knife to pry it open. Carefully cut the muscle away from the shell by sliding the knife horizontally along the inside top of the shell. This method is really not difficult if you happen to have an oyster knife and a cut-resistant glove.
The second method I read about and tried was using a paring knife.
Start at the front or side of the oyster (not the hinge) and gently insert the knife between the line where the top and bottom shells meet. Once it starts to open, twist the knife 90 degrees and cut the adductor muscle that connects the top and bottom shells. I tried this method and although some folks think its pure genius I see it as a way to get some pretty nasty cuts on your hands. I don’t recommend this method unless you have a cut-resistant glove.
The third method is using a flat head screwdriver.
A flat-head screwdriver works pretty much the same way an oyster knife will. And since just about everyone has a flat head screwdriver it makes it the perfect replacement for an oyster knife.
Find the shortest thick-bladed screwdriver you have and wash it thoroughly.
Lay the oyster flat in your hand and hold it in place. Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the “hinge” at the back of the oyster and rotate the handle to pry open the oyster. At this point, you’ll need a pairing knife to cut the muscle away from the shell by sliding the knife horizontally along the inside top of the shell. Using a cut-resistant glove is recommended.
How do I make Oysters Rockefeller?
Start by melting the butter in a large saute pan. Add the shallots and saute for 3-5 minutes.
Add the spinach to the saute pan and cook the spinach until it’s wilted.
**If you want to add Pernod or white wine, add it after the spinach has wilted.
Mix in the lemon juice, cream, Romano cheese and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and allow the mixture to cook down (reduce) by one half.
The mixture will thicken and somewhat solidify while it cools off in the fridge.
The last step before cooking is placing a tablespoon of the spinach filling on each oyster, then sprinkling panko bread crumbs on top.
Place the oysters in your preheated oven and bake until golden brown.
Once you see how easy it is to make this classic restaurant style dish, it will become one of your favorite appetizers. Can you imagine how impressed your friends and family will be when they see the deliciousness you created?
Kitchen Tools I use to make Oysters Rockefeller
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like these:
- 24 oysters live in shell
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots finely minced
- 10 oz baby spinach
- 12 oz heavy cream
- ½ cup Romano cheese
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Rinse and clean the oysters
- Carefully open the oysters and using a paring knife cut under the oyster releasing it from the shell. Place the open oysters on a sheet pan and refrigerate until needed.
- in a large saute pan or wide bottom pot, melt the butter.
- Add the shallots to the melted butter and saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not let them burn.
- Add the spinach and saute until the spinach is wilted.
- **If you want to add Pernod or white wine, now is the time to add the wine to the pan.
- Add the lemon juice, heavy cream, Romano cheese and black pepper to the spinach. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Allow the mixture to continue cooking until the cream has reduced by half.
- Place the finished mixture into the refrigerator. Allow the spinach mixture to completely cool and solidify.
- Place one tablespoon of the spinach mixture on top of each oyster.
- Top each finished oyster with the panko bread crumbs.
- Place the oysters in a 375 degree F. oven for 15-20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.
- Serve the oysters on a bed of rock salt with lemon slices.