Oysters Rockerfeller

Looking to impress someone for Valentine’s Day? Oysters are renowned as an aphrodisiac – a word that means ‘pertaining to Aphrodite’, the Greek goddess of love. 

The recipe for Oysters Rockerfeller 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. It was named after John D Rockefeller, the richest man of his day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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*
  • salt
  • two lemons
  • 2 kgs rock salt

METHOD

  1. The dish is served straight from the oven, so you will need a large ovenproof serving dish.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve immediately with a dishful of quartered lemons.

The Fish Society was founded by Alistair Blair: “Fish landed and auctioned on Day 1 in Cornwall, The Hebrides, Aberdeen and Norfolk, and indeed in the big French port of Boulogne is processed and frozen by us on Day 2. We believe that unless you’re buying fresh fish at the port to eat today or tomorrow, frozen is ultimately superior – as long as the fish being frozen is of the highest quality. 

“Quality is not just a matter of freshness. It’s also about cut and trim. Over nearly 25 years we have discerned exactly what our very discerning customers want and that is what we give them.

“And we are about service: ‘Go the extra mile’ and ‘Do as you would be done by’. 

“Our fish and our overall service are intended to meet the highest standards. If you are not happy, we guarantee to resolve the situation quickly.”

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