First, before we go anywhere on this, to everyone who came here by way of Google/Bing/Whatever Internet search in hopes of finding the acclaimed, yet still secret, oysters rockefeller recipe from Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans, this isn’t that recipe.
This is, however, a recipe from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Sort of.
We love the show. Between it and Jane and Michael Stern’s Road Food segment of Splendid Table (and the resulting Where We Eat list), we’ve been known to plan vacations around various eating spots. Even with the locavorism and the non-CAFO diet, we’ll still make exceptions for the (HA!) exceptional eatery (and don’t always need to make the exceptions anyways).
A couple weeks back, there was an episode that featured the Whale’s Rib in Deerfield Beach, Florida and their recipe for Oysters Rockefeller, that included tomato, which is not normal in Oysters Rockefeller.
Well, it looked so good, we quickly paused the playback, rewound and wrote out the recipe (to the extent that most any recipe is given on the show). And we… actually, a quick side note here.
So, with all that lead in, let me finish the ‘And we…’ I started a minute ago.
And we promptly lost the recipe in a computer crash.
What follows is our attempt to recreate a memory of a recipe that we wrote down a week or two before and mostly forgot.
Whale’s Rib’s Oysters Rockefeller (More or Less)
Adapted from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Whale’s Rib and our poor memories
- Oysters, 1 dozen small or medium, on half shell
- Spinach, 4 ounces, steamed
- Onion, 1 large, diced
- Breadcrumbs, 1 cup
- Tomato, 1 large, sliced
- Provolone, 12 slices
- Press the water out of the spinach.
- Mix the spinach, onion and breadcrumbs by hand. You should find that the spinach breaks apart into little pieces.
- Roll the mixture into a blob that will cover the oyster and raise up an inch or so above the shell.
- Press down a little so the top of the blob is flat and lay the tomato slice on top of the blob. We needed to do half slices of tomatoes.
- Lay a slice of provolone atop the the tomato.
- This step intentionally left blank.
- Broil on low for 10 minutes.
Our notes: Man, are there a lot of notes on this.
First, the broiling. If your oven is like ours, you’ll find that the amount of time needed gets shorter and shorter. Our first took 10-12 minutes. Our last set of oysters took 6-8.
The blank step? That’s where we’d talk about what sort of pan to put this in. Our broiler came with its own pan, which worked great. What is perfect is if you go out and buy a good amount of rock salt and fill a roasting pan with that, and gently settle the oyster shells into that, being careful not to spill any of the oyster liquor. The upside is that you won’t have to be extra careful not to spill taking things in and out of the oven and they’ll remain warm. Downside is that you can’t scrape up the melted cheese from the pan with a knife for some hot cheese on tongue action.
The provolone slices: cut the round pieces in half and put both halves on the oyster. We found that a single slice turned too ethereal to be cheesy.
Shucking oysters. Get an oyster knife. I didn’t. It was hard. Watch a video (or two) on YouTube if you’ve never done it before. Find a friend who knows how to do it, and offer them a meal in exchange for their help. If you get your oysters from Oyster Bill of Taylor Shellfish at any of the Farmer’s Markets, you can buy a knife from him there at the booth and he’ll show you how to use it.
Mrs. Cook Local interjecting one key thing here. If you have access to Oyster Bill at the farmers markets, don’t shy away from this recipe because you think it is expensive. One dozen oysters runs anywhere from $8-$12 depending on size (and the $8 ones are plenty big enough) and with the spinach, breadcrumbs, cheese, and tomato, one dozen can easily feed two people for a meal, maybe with a bit of crusty bread. Much more cost effective than you’d think.
Oh, and this was pretty tasty. I want to try something different with the fillings, add a little pernod (or maybe absinthe, since it’s local), a little spice in the filling, maybe a little diced bacon or pancetta, a dab of Zane and Zack’s just under the cheese.
But I’m gonna get an oyster knife first, for sure.
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