This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.
A must-make dish for any oyster aficionado, Oysters Rockefeller is a luxurious appetizer that turns any occasion into a very special one.
They’re perfect to serve for Mother’s Day brunch or a sophisticated New Year’s shindig, but I wouldn’t stop you from making these for a quiet dinner at home, either, as long as there’s some bubbly and someone to enjoy them with.
Sometimes finding delicious fresh oysters is reason enough to celebrate with this recipe!
Is this the original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller?
No, that recipe is a closely guarded secret. This dish was first served at Antoine’s in New Orleans as early as 1899. There are hundreds of variations of the recipe, but my recipe comes close to the real one.
Where do Oysters Rockefeller get their name?
The original recipe uses so much butter, the oysters were thought to be fit for a Rockefeller, one of the richest families at the time. My recipe lightens up the proportions for today’s diet.
What are the best oysters for Oysters Rockefeller?
Because this dish originated in New Orleans, gulf oysters were likely the most common variety used. These days I look for the freshest oysters I can get, no matter where they come from.
How do you shuck oysters?
In a word: carefully! Because these will be baked, I like to get my oysters pre-shucked at the market by a professional. I keep them on ice until they’re ready to cook. If you want to try your hand at shucking your own, there are some online tutorials that can teach you. Just remember to take your time, use the right tool, and wear protective mesh gloves to keep your hands safe.
Can you make Oysters Rockefeller on the grill?
Yes! Heat your grill to 450°F and cook them according to the recipe, watching the oysters closely. Some grills retain heat better than others.
Can you make Oysters Rockefeller using frozen or canned oysters?
If shucked frozen oysters without the shells or canned smoked oysters are what you plan to use, you can adjust this recipe baking the oysters in a lightly buttered muffin tin instead of on the rock salt. Once they’re baked, serve them on slices of toasted baguette or a good cracker. All the ingredients will soak into the bread and be just as delicious.
What can you substitute for Pernod?
In case you can’t find Pernod, look for Pastis, Herbsainte, or even a good quality dry vermouth.
What can I substitute in place of watercress?
Sometimes watercress can be difficult to find out of season. If watercress isn’t available, add some extra spinach and some chopped parsley.
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 bunch watercress stemmed
- 1/2 cup scallions chopped
- 3/4 cup butter softened (1 ½ sticks)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs dry
- 2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds ground
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 pound rock salt
- 24 oysters fresh, shucked, shells reserved
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Adjust an oven rack top to the upper middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a food processor, combine garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Add spinach, watercress, and green onions and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- In food processor, combine butter, breadcrumbs, Pernod, fennel, and hot sauce. Process until blended. Add spinach mixture back to process and pulse just until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- On a rimed baking sheet, pour rock salt to the depth of ½ inch. Arrange oysters in half shells on top.
- Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.