The original version of oysters Rockefeller was created at the famous Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans. It consisted of a purée covering the oysters - the recipe for which has been closely guarded to this day. The spinach and béchamel creations you see today are loose interpretations; the flavours in the original version are believed to have been more complex. Here's another tasty variation. Pictured with Tequila Old Fashioned and Tom Collins.
- 2 cups (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley
- 1 spring onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp small capers in salt, rinsed
- ½ tsp finely grated lemon rind
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 35 ml Pernod
- 100 gm coarse sourdough breadcrumbs
- 1½ rindless bacon rashers, finely chopped
- 24 rock oysters
- 150 gm butter, cut into small dice, at room temperature
- 1Blanch parsley (5-10 seconds), then refresh. Drain well, squeezing excess water from parsley, and transfer to a food processor. Add spring onion, capers and lemon rind and process until finely chopped. Add celery and 20ml Pernod and stir to combine. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250C. Combine breadcrumbs and bacon in a bowl and set aside. Remove oysters from shells and set aside in a bowl. Spoon parsley mixture into shells, then return oysters to shells. Scatter breadcrumb mixture over, then dot with 100gm butter. Place on a baking tray lined with crumpled foil and bake until golden and bubbling (10-15 minutes).
- 3Meanwhile, combine remaining Pernod and butter in a small saucepan, heat over low heat until melted and combined (1-2 minutes), then spoon over oysters and serve hot.