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This recipe was first created in 1899 at Antoine’s, a New Orleans restaurant, and consists of oysters served on the half-shell with other toppings. Parsley or other green herbs are added, along with breadcrumbs and a rich butter sauce, and they the oysters are broiled or baked. The dish was named after John D Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, because the sauce was so rich.

This recipe was developed because of the shortage of French snails at the time. Local oysters were plentiful. Antoine’s has been serving the original recipe for more than a century and it is believed that more than three and a half million orders of oysters Rockefeller have been served during that time. The original recipe is a secret, although it is thought to contain a puree of various green vegetables.

A lot of New Orleans restaurants claim to serve the original dish but that recipe has never left the family’s hands, so competing restaurants have dishes which are very similar, but not identical. The bright green color seems to come from spinach although Antoine’s denies using any. A laboratory analysis carried out in 1986 discovered the main ingredients to be pureed, strained celery, parsley, and chives or green onions, as well as capers and olive oil.

Classic Oysters Rockefeller
Summary: This is a classic method for preparing oysters. You can find the dish in all the best seafood restaurants. The seafood is paired with parmesan, spinach, Pernod, garlic, and herbs.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 dozen oysters, on the half shell
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Few drops red pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or chervil
  • Rock salt
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet.
  3. Sauté the garlic in the butter for a couple of minutes.
  4. Put the breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and add half the garlic mixture to them.
  5. Add the spinach and shallots to the remaining garlic butter in the pan.
  6. Cook for 3 minutes or until the spinach wilts.
  7. Use the Pernod to deglaze the pan.
  8. Use dry sherry if you do not have Pernod, or even dry white wine.
  9. Season the mixture with salt and black pepper and a couple of drops of red pepper sauce.
  10. Let this mixture cook down for several minutes.
  11. Mix olive oil into the breadcrumbs, then add parsley and parmesan, and season with salt and black pepper.
  12. Spoon a teaspoon of the spinach mixture on to each oyster, then a spoonful of breadcrumb mixture.
  13. Sprinkle rock salt over a baking tray, and then arrange the oysters on top.
  14. The rock salt is mainly to steady the oysters so they do not topple over.
  15. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.
  16. Serve with lemon wedges.

Photo Description:

The reason this dish has stood the test of time is its unbelievable flavor. Oysters can be served raw and plain, used to make stuffing, added to soups, or used to make wonderful snacks like this oysters Rockefeller recipe. Topping the oysters with a crunchy, herby, breadcrumb mixture gives them such a wonderful flavor and this is an elegant appetizer. Impress people by making this classic dish. It is easy to prepare. Oysters are not the cheapest ingredient but you only need to give people three or four each for an appetizer, along with a lemon wedge and perhaps some hot sauce on the side.


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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine. I am happy you are visiting today. Food is very important to everyone, and in this family we love to eat all kinds of dishes from meat and chicken to international cuisine, crockpot creations and more. Seafood is something we also love, and I love the fact it is nutritious as well as very tasty.

Everyone knows 'the big three' which are cod, tuna and salmon, but sometimes it is fun to try different types of fish, such as perch, trout, monkfish, or even shellfish like mussels or clams. There are seafood recipes for every season and occasion, those served chilled for a refreshing burst of flavor, and those served hot in stew or soup form.

Choose from crispy fried fish, tender pan-fried or poached cuts, or what about a seafood medley boasting the most wonderful flavors of the sea, lake or river? Seafood can be served as part of a salad or savory dish, or it can be served as an appetizer or snack. Bacon-wrapped scallops, anyone? You will find a comprehensive collection of wonderful seafood recipes right here, for your inspiration and enjoyment.

Thanks for visiting,