Oysters Rockefeller, Escargots and Barefoot Wine
Oysters Rockefeller (from Tom Fitzmorris’s Hungry Town: A Culinary History of New Orleans, the City Where Food Is Almost Everything)
Mr. Fitmorris says it took him about 50 tries to match the flavor of Antoine’s recipe. So if you want to give it a try, I’d say he saved you a good deal of time and expense.
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup scallion tops,chopped
- 2 cups parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 cup fresh fennel, chopped (bulbs,stalks and/or fronds are fine)
- 1 cup watercress, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
- 3 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
- Liquer from 4 dozen oysters plus enough water to make 2 cups of liquid
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 drops green food coloring (Fitzmorris says this is optional, but authentic)
- 1/2 pound butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup very fine fresh bread crumbs
- 4 dozen oysters
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Combine the vegetables and anchovies in small batches, and process to a near puree in a food processor, using enough of the oyster liquer/water mixture to keep things moving.
- Combine the vegetable/anchovy mixture with the rest of the liquid in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring every now and then, until the excess water is gone, but the greens remain very moist. Add the sugar, ketchup, salt, white pepper, cayenne, Worchestershire, bitters and food coloring.
- Make a blond roux with the butter and flour. Blend well into the greens, until the sauce takes on a lighter texture. Mix in the bread crumbs.
- Place the fresh oysters into oyster shells, small ovenproof ramekins or gratin dishes. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon (or more, if you like) of the sauce. Bake fifteen minutes, until the sauce barely begins to brown. Serve immediately.
Note: If you bake the oysters on shells, serve on a bed of rock salt to keep the shells steady.
Yield: 4 Dozen