Not all parties and get-togethers are the chili fries type. For some people and some crowds, wine and oysters are more fitting. Whether dining by the sea, on the porch of a mountain villa or in the penthouse of a skyscraper overlooking the city lights below, there are few combinations that equal wine and oysters.
But what makes this recipe “a la Rockefeller”?
It is said that Antoine Alciatore, the creator of the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe and founder of Antoine’s in New Orleans, took his secret to his grave. The chefs at Antoine’s say there is no spinach in the recipe but many copycat versions, including this one, contains spinach. I’ve never been to New Orleans, I have never dined at Antoine’s nor tried the original Oysters Rockefeller, but I love oysters whether simply blanched in boiling water or served with fancy sauce and toppings.
Yesterday, Buddy and Laura brought oysters, I blanched them in boiling water for two minutes and I would have eaten them like that, briny and all, but Laura suggested we bake them a la Oysters Rockefeller (I think she’s scared of eating semi-raw oysters). And so, we did. The result was delicious. Buttery, cheesy and creamy — but without any cream. I had run out of cream so we used yogurt.
- 2 kilograms fresh oysters rinsed, scrubbed and rinsed again
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 pinch finely chopped garlic
- 3 to 4 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 small handful roughly chopped spinach leaves
- 50 grams sharp tasting cheese (we used mature Cheddar)
- panko or regular breadcrumbs
- Boil about eight cups of water.
- Place the oysters in a shallow pan. Pour the boiling water over them. Leave for two minutes. Strain.
- Pry the shells open. Discard the empty halves.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Melt the butter in a pan. Saute the onion and garlic. Pour in the yogurt. Add the spinach. Cook just until bubbly.
- Grate the cheese.
- Spoon a little of the yogurt-spinach sauce over each oyster. Sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for about two minutes or just until the cheese melts. DO NOT bake for too long or the oysters will shrivel and dry out.
- Serve the oysters preferably with a good white wine.
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