This recipe was invented in 1889 by Jules Alciatore who was in charge of his family's restaurant in New Orleans. Great mystique hangs over it including Alciatore's supposed deathbed insistence that the exact recipe never be disclosed. As of 2013, 'Huitres en coquille à la Rockefeller' is still the first item on the restaurant menu. It was named after John D Rockefeller, the richest man of his day.
- 24 oysters
- 24 cup-side oyster shells
- 50g / 2ozs butter*
- 50g / 2ozs fresh spinach*
- 1 medium onion*
- a large handful of fresh parsley*
- 50g / 2ozs fresh breadcrumbs*
- a dash of Tabasco sauce*
- a capful of Pernod*
- two lemons
- 2 kgs rock salt
- The dish is served straight from the oven, so you will need a large ovenproof serving dish.
- Leave the oysters to defrost in the fridge overnight, finishing the process off at room temperature the following morning. Keep a teacupful of the liquor. Mince the spinach. Chop the parsley and onion finely.
- In a large pan, melt the butter and add the 7 asterisked ingredients. Stir continuously. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat after 15 minutes. Cool, then blitz in a food processor. All this may be done well in advance.
- Smooth the rock salt across the surface of your large dish. It should be about 3/4' / 2cms deep. Position the oyster shells in the rock salt, making sure they are level. Now add a little liquor and one oyster to each shell, then spoon the sauce on top, covering the meat and smoothing to the shell rim.
- Cook in an oven pre-heated to 200C for about 5 minutes. Watch to ensure they do not burn and move the dish around if necessary to ensure even cooking.
- Serve immediately with a dishful of quartered lemons.