My dog, Fellow, stood by me in the kitchen while I made this dish. I decided to name it after him. It makes a great Thanksgiving appetizer.
Since the first time I created this dish, Ive made some improvements. First, a little history
The original Oysters Rockefeller recipe is a closely guarded secret, created in 1899 at the famous New Orleans restaurant Antoines.Jules Alciatore, the son of founder Antoine Alciatore, developed the dish when they had a shortage of escargot, substituting locally available oysters. Antoines is still the only place in the world where you can be served the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe.
Search on line for Oysters Rockefeller, and youll find hundreds of recipes that claim to be the real thing. Most of them use spinach in the dish. The folks atAntoinesclaim there wasnt any spinach in the original recipe.
My version, my Oysters Rock-a-Fellow, is a cheesier, gooier version than the original, but I think its one you will enjoy. I use larger, meatier oysters like Wellfleets from Cape Cod or local Rhode Island oysters, but use what you like. And, as I show you below, you can make the cheese portion of this dish the day before, saving yourself a lot of work.
24 oysters, washed to remove grit
2 cans beer (any extra beer you have is fine)
5 black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
2 garlic cloves
Scrub the oysters under cold water to get them clean.
In a large pot, pour in the beer, peppercorns, salt, and garlic cloves, along with enough cold water to fill the pot about halfway. Turn the heat on high and bring the pot to a boil. This liquid will add flavor to the oysters and will further clean the outside of the shells.
The moment you reach a boil, turn the heat to medium and drop in 6 oysters, letting them bathe in the liquid for only 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl to cool. If the oysters open, theyve been in there too long! You want them to stay closed. Do the same with the rest of the oysters, 6 at a time. Once all the oysters have had their 30 seconds, move the oyster bowl to a cutting board. Discard the liquid in the pot.
Pour Kosher salt onto a sheet pan lined with foil. Once the oysters have cooled enough for you to handle, carefully remove the top shell off each one, and lay them on the bed of salt in the sheet pan, trying not to spill any of the precious oyster liquor inside.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup low-fat milk
salt and pepper
3 cups (tightly packed) fresh arugula, finely chopped, about a 5 oz. container
6 oz. mild cheddar cheese (the white one), grated
6 oz. mozzarella, grated
Fine bread crumbs (Using GF breadcrumbs will keep this dish gluten-free)
In a sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the milk, season with salt and pepper, and then add the arugula a little at a time, letting it wilt before adding more. Use all the arugula.
Once all the arugula is in the saucepan, sprinkle the cheese in a bit at a time, letting it melt, until youve used all the cheese: the cheddar and then the mozzarella.
Pour the gooey cheese mix into a lasagna pan, smooth it out with a spatula, and place it in the fridge to cool.
You can actually do this all the day before, because the cheese mix hardens and becomes easy to cut into cubes with a sharp knife.
Then simply place a cube of the cheese mix on eachoyster
sprinkle a little bread crumb on top
and bake in the 425-degree oven for about 810 minutes until its golden and bubbly.
Whoever said that cheese and seafood dont go together, never tried this!
I buy Udis gluten free frozen bread for my breadcrumbs. I take the loaf, toast the slices, then put them through the food processor. The taste is far better than buying pre-made GF breadcrumbs. Use regular breadcrumbs if you dont need to worry about gluten.
If youre really strict about gluten, you can use GF beer in the pot of water or simply eliminate the beer altogether.