Oysters Rockefeller were created in New Orleans, at the legendary Antoine's. The restaurant refuses to give a recipe, but we do know that neither bacon nor spinach is involved. Instead, the oysters are topped with a roux full of herbs and vegetables, then combined with bread crumbs and broiled until the bivalves are tender and a delicate crust forms. —Kelly Alexander, from "Shell Game" (December 2002)
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd ColemanSERVES 4–6
INGREDIENTSRock salt, as needed
12 bluepoint oysters, chilled
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. cayenne
6 scallions, minced
2 ribs celery, minced
2 sprigs tarragon, stemmed and minced
1 bunch parsley, stemmed and minced, plus sprigs to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. fresh bread crumbs
INSTRUCTIONS1. Fill 2 ovenproof baking dishes halfway with rock salt. Shuck oysters over a bowl to catch their liquor (you should have about ½ cup), discarding flat top shells. Loosen oysters from bottom shells with a knife. Nestle 6 shucked oysters in their shells into each bed of rock salt; chill.
2. Melt butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add oyster liquor; cook until thickened to a paste, about 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne, scallions, celery, tarragon, parsley, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until soft, about 1 hour. Transfer to a food processor, add bread crumbs, and process into a smooth paste, about 2 minutes.
3. Heat broiler to high. Place paste in a pastry bag fitted with a ½" fluted tip. Pipe paste completely over oysters. Broil until paste begins to brown and oysters are just cooked through, about 5–7 minutes. Garnish each dish with parsley sprigs, if you like.
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