Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Oysters Rockefeller

January 8th, 2010 · 25 Comments

Oysters RockefellerOne of the appetizers famously served in many a New Orleans restaurant and goes back to the days of Antoine’s Restaurant. Founded in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore this dish was created by Jules Alciatore in 1899, the son of the restaurant’s founder.

The dish was named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time and follows in the same richness of the sauce.

The original recipe is still a secret today, however the main ingredient that most folks use today is still spinach, and some opinions differ on the other green ingredients but guess at them being parsley and watercress that are pureed and added to the mix. Historically, it seems the original recipe may have been taken to the death bed of Jules Alciatore, as current Antoine’s chefs deny any spinach in the recipe, some folks support the notion that the primary ingredients are parsley, celery, scallions or chives, olive oil, and capers.

The historical mystery surrounding this famous dish still thrives today, but the version presented here from the Columns Hotel as it was served in the mid 1980’s curing the Chef Chris Canan and Brian Coates days, still holds as a superlative addition to any restaurant menu.

If you are visiting New Orleans, especially now during Mardi Gras season you can still order Huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller (notre creation) $12.00, Oysters baked on the half shell with the original Rockefeller sauce created by Antoine’s in 1889 at Antoine’s Restaurant.

Raw oysters on the half shell are covered with the Rockefeller stuffing/sauce and then typically are topped with cheese and then baked in a high heat oven until browned. Alternatively, roasted for about 15 to 20 minutes in a 425° F oven. Also, typically once baked a hollandaise sauce is dolloped on top of each oyster and then browned quickly under the broiler before service.

The recipe below makes quite a large batch, so you may want to cut it in half, or you can freeze any left over portions for several weeks.


3 Lb. Spinach, chopped
4 Med Onions, minced
1 Stalk Celery, minced
2 Each Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
8 Ounces Anisette liquor, Herbsaint, or Pernod
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper
2 Tsp Fennel seed
1 Tsp Dry mustard
1 Ounce Worcestershire sauce
3 Quarts Chicken Velouté sauce
Procedure Steps
1. Thaw the spinach if frozen and drain well.
2. Pass the spinach through a meat grinder and press it to remove any extra moisture.
3. Combine the onions, celery and garlic
4. Sauté the onions, celery, garlic and bay leaves in a small amount of oil until soft.
5. Add the liquor and flame.
6. Add the cayenne, fennel, and dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce and stir well.
7. Add the Velouté sauce and stir well then heat through for 15 – 20 minutes.
8. Remove from the heat and fold in the spinach, then transfer to pans and allow to cool over night before using.
Can be frozen in 1 lb portions for future usage.

Image courtesy of Flickr and posted by ~maan~

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Tags: Appetizers · Columns Hotel · Culture · French Cuisine · Mardi Gras · Recipes · Seafood

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 My Man's Belly // Jan 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Do you have a video tutorial on how to shuck oysters? I’m too chicken to do it. Convinced I’ll put the oyster shell or shucking implement through my hand. (Yep, I’m a clutz)

  • 2 Lana // Jan 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Oh, what a classic New Orleans dish this is! We honeymooned in New Orleans many years ago and Oysters Rockefeller was one of the things I enjoyed most on that lovely trip. It would be so nice to visit and enjoy it one more time.

  • 3 Emily // Jan 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Awesome! You’ve achieved a Rockefeller dish.. now if we could only achieve the wealth ;o)

    Kidding, of course! This looks like an excellent dish.

  • 4 Dana // Jan 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Yammy! This looks delicious!

  • 5 The Hungry Mouse // Jan 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Yes, please!


  • 6 Sook // Jan 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I’m going to have to pass this recipe on to my mother-in-law. She absolutely loves oysters!! 🙂

  • 7 Trix // Jan 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Popa Trix and I had Oysters Rockefeller for an appy at Antoine’s. Delish, but you’re right – they are SO rich, it was more like having a main course! Well, that’s Creole dinners for ya … you gotta space it out slll—ooo—wwww–ly. Or else your tummy will pop!

  • 8 Drick // Jan 8, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    great explanation of this appetizer … so many varying ways …this one is a classic…

  • 9 Beth // Jan 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Awesome !!
    Can’t wait to make these as part of a great dinner for my other half. 😉

  • 10 Ryan Boudreaux // Jan 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Such a quick response, thanks folks! I might add that the texture of the Rockefeller stuffing/sauce is much smoother if you puree the onions, celery, and garlic before the saute stage in step 3 of the procedures.

  • 11 Ryan Boudreaux // Jan 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    @MyMan’sBelly, no video that I have done, but shucking oysters does take some practice and skill. I use a damp kitchen towel and wedge the oyster between it and my hand, then use the oyster knife to wedge the two shells apart.

  • 12 sweetlife // Jan 8, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Great recipe, I love oysters, This would be nice for a date dinner.


  • 13 Ingeborg // Jan 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Those oysters look scrumptious! I love oysters!! My husband won’t go near them…lol.

  • 14 redkathy // Jan 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Oh Chef, these sound fabulous!! This was something that our whole family ate when we visited this small seafood joint in Maryland. Fond memories of great seafood!

  • 15 raquel of Cafe Nilson // Jan 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    love it, love it, love it!!!!!

  • 16 Natasha - 5 Star Foodie // Jan 9, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I love Oysters Rockefeller! Of course we had it in Antoine’s and were trying to guess the secret ingredient. What do you think it is?

  • 17 penny aka jeroxie // Jan 9, 2010 at 4:45 am

    I can have a dozen of those quite easily.

  • 18 Lori Lynn // Jan 9, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Always one of my favorite dishes.
    Love that it is a secret…

  • 19 The Chickenless Chick // Jan 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Delicious looking oysters. And any sauce that you get to set in fire is awesome in my book.

    @My Man’s Belly… I used to shuck oysters professionally, and if it helps, you need not keep your knife very sharp. It’s more of a prying tool, really. I slipped up dozens of times, but because the knife was so dull, I never broke skin.

  • 20 Almost Slowfood // Jan 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I love oysters rockefeller and yours look delish!

  • 21 Kristen // Jan 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I had Oysters Rockefellar for the first time on NYE and they were fabulous especially when using fresh oysters from the bay.

  • 22 Conor @ HoldtheBeef // Jan 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    As much as I love love love natural oysters, I think I could very easily eat at least a half dozen of these, they look incredibly moreish.

  • 23 Rochelle (Acquired Taste) // Jan 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve never had oysters rockefeller, but I’m very interested in trying to make some after seeing yours, Yum!

  • 24 Alta // Jan 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

    LOVE Oysters Rockefeller. Your photo is mouth-watering. Yum.

  • 25 Lauren @ Delicateflavors // Jun 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Ooh yummy! I bought a bottle of Pernod for Bouillabaisse recently and didn’t know what else to use it for. This is the perfect recipe. Thank you for sharing. 🙂