Georgia Magazine - October 2017 - 39
Oysters Rockefeller is probably
the most popular, cooked oyster dish
in the United States. Oysters Rockefeller was invented in 1899 by Jules
Alciatore, son of Antoine Alciatore,
founder of Antoine's in New Orleans.
The original used a combination of
herbs and vegetables-parsley and
perhaps watercress-and most likely
absinthe for the anise note.
The contemporary version opts
for spinach and uses Parmesan and
sometimes other cheeses as a topping. This Oysters Rockefeller, from
Doug Turbush's Drift Fish House &
Oyster Bar in Marietta, uses panko instead of classic breadcrumbs.
To shuck the oysters, first be
sure to discard any that are already
opened, sound hollow when tapped
or have broken or damaged shells.
These are dead and risk being toxic. Also discard any that don't smell
sweet and clean.
Hold the oyster firmly with a
towel, cup side down, and place the
point of the oyster knife in the slight
slip between the top and bottom
shells. Twist the knife back and forth,
rocking it to open the oyster, then
loosen the oyster from the shell. If
you have trouble opening oysters, lay
them in a shallow, microwave-safe
dish, cover them with a paper towel
and microwave for about 1 minute.
You want to ease the opening process, not cook them.
An important note: The rock salt
used in recipes in which oysters are
cooked in the shells is not for eating;
it's to secure the oysters so they don't
tip over and waste all the liquor.
Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar's
cloves garlic, peeled
cup sliced green onion, green parts only
ounces Herbsaint (or Pernod or other
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Mentioned this month
* Antoine's Restaurant, New Orleans, La.,
* BeetleCat, Atlanta, beetlecatatl.com
* Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar, Marietta,
* Easy Bistro & Bar, Chattanooga, Tenn., easybistro.com
* Food 101, Atlanta, food101atl.com
* Kimball House, Decatur, kimball-house.com
* Kyma, Atlanta, buckheadrestaurants.com/restaurant/kyma
* The Salty Snapper Seafood & Oyster Bar, Valdosta, saltysnapper
* Seabear Oyster Bar, Athens, seabearoysterbar.com
* UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Athens, gacoast.
* Whitehouse Seafood, Woodbine, whitehouseseafood.yolasite.com
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org
2 tablespoons salt
16 fresh Gulf oysters, cleaned, shucked
1 cup panko, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups rock salt (also known as ice cream
Purée spinach, garlic, green onion, Herbsaint, fennel seeds and hot
sauce in a food processor until smooth
and bright green. In a separate mixing bowl, use a paddle attachment to
whip butter until soft. Add spinach
purée until incorporated. Season with
salt to taste.
Preheat broiler in oven. Place
shucked oysters on a bed of rock salt
in an oven-safe pan. Top each oyster
with 1 tablespoon butter mixture, 1
tablespoon panko and 1 tablespoon
Parmesan. Broil oysters until butter
and cheese topping is golden brown
and bubbling and oysters are hot, 4-6
minutes. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
At the end of his life, Jules Alciatore swore the family to secrecy, so
the staff won't tell you anything about
the original recipe. This version likely
isn't very close to the original, which
may have had watercress, parsley and
other herbs and probably contained
absinthe, but any anise-flavored liqueur would do. To enjoy the anise
flavor without the alcohol, add a little chopped fennel to the celery-or
University of Georgia Marine
Extension and Georgia Sea
Grant opened the state's first
oyster hatchery in 2015 on
Skidaway Island to revive
the once-thriving oyster
industry in Georgia.
The oysters are available at several nearby restaurants and may be
ordered in advance at the store. "You
gotta call ahead and reserve them,"
The resurgence of oysters is reflected in the dining world as well.
Oyster bars are popping up all over
the state-Seabear Oyster Bar in Athens, Kimball House in Decatur, The
Salty Snapper in Valdosta and more-
to capitalize on the renewed taste for
this (frankly) ugly bivalve. Chefs are
eager to put out their own mignonette
(a thin tangy condiment) for their customers to daub onto the raw oysters,
but sometimes lemon is the best embellishment-or even nothing at all.
Jane F. Garvey is a food, wine and
travel writer from Decatur.