Oysters Rockefeller was created in 1899 at Antoine's restaurant in New Orleans, by the son of the owner Jules Alciatore. This recipe was named after John D. Rockefeller, who was the richest man in the United States during that time, so the rich sauce that Jules created for this recipe was synonymous with the naming of this recipe.
Antoine's restaurant is the oldest family-run restaurant in America, and Jules was adamant that no other restaurant had duplicated this family secret recipe, which has been passed down to his children and grandchildren and to this day, is safely kept under lock and key!
The first time I ate Oysters Rockefeller was in Newport Beach, California at a restaurant originally called The Cannery - I just fell in love with the recipe. Later, after threats of demolition, a restaurateur Ron Salisbury brought The Cannery back to life! It is now named Cannery Seafood of the Pacific. The same location, highly renovated and absolutely delicious and creative food.
My own version of this recipe is geared to be budget-friendly and is very simple to make, using canned or jarred oysters. For presentation purposes, I use scallop shells for baking which are a great buy, as you can use them for other appetizer recipes for years - and they look fantastic on the table! They also make a great gift.
2 - 8 oz. cans (or jars) of cooked oysters, drained and patted dry (I used the Roland brand in this recipe)
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
3 cups of fresh baby spinach
2 cups of fresh baby arugula
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, cheddar, Fontina cheese(or your favorite cheese)
Hot sauce (optional)
Scallop shells for baking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1. First, drain the oysters from the can and pat dry. Set aside. Next, chop the spinach and arugula really fine and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the diced onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes stirring often. Do not brown. Next, add the arugula, baby spinach and red pepper flakes. Cook stirring occasionally, until the arugula and spinach begin to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Then, add the chopped bacon and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Spray the scallop shells lightly with a pan spray. Place a cooked oyster (2 if they are small,) into the shell. Top with the bacon mixture, covering the oyster, then with a small pile of cheese into the center and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Serve with a splash of hot sauce if desired.
Makes approximately 1 dozen appetizers.
I did not think my children would eat these - I was wrong and had to make more!
Chef's Notes and Tips
If you purchase canned cooked oysters, you really can't see the actual size of them. This is why I use two eight ounce cans, just to make sure I have enough. If you can find oysters in a jar you will obviously be able to see the size.
If the oysters are large, I would suggest 2 Oysters Rockefeller per person as an appetizer. Of course, if they are on the smaller side then you can increase the quantity. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It is easy and truly scrumptious!
Natural baking shells are available through Amazon right here.