Continuing in the secret tradition perpetuated when the originator of “Oysters Rockefeller” took his recipe to the grave, many Virginia chefs today serve up this signature dish with an air of mystery.
Generally consisting of a puree of green vegetables, mixed in a savory cream sauce, encrusted with breadcrumbs and baked over each half-shell oyster, this dish is as varied as they come as each chef adds their creative flair.
Spinach? Maybe. Cheese? Possibly. Absinthe? Bacon? Capers? Chives? Breadcrumbs? Your guess is as good as ours!
Make your resolve to hit the road and sample the many variations of “Oysters Rockefeller” that can be found at restaurants all across the Virginia Oyster Trail.
And, don’t be surprised should you ask for the recipe only to be answered with a signature Cheshire-chef smile!
Ingredients for 6 Virginia Oysters:
First, place the oysters under the broiler or really hot oven for about 1 minute until they barely open up. Remove, and set aside. Be careful not to spill the liquid out of the shell. You don’t want to dry them out.
Crisp 6 pieces of whatever thinly sliced cured meat you will be using. Set aside.
Then, in a small saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is hot, add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot and cook for about 30 seconds until just before it begins to brown. Then add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Continue to cook for about seconds more. Then add 3/4 cup of chopped arugula and cook about 30 seconds. Add 3/4 oz of Absinthe Pernod. Cook about 15 seconds more. Place mixture into a bowl.
Shave some slices of the cheese with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Set aside.
Next, pop the tops off the cooled oysters and using an oyster knife or paring knife, sever the abductor muscle that anchors the oyster to the bottom of the shell. Remove any bits of shell that may have fallen in with the oyster.
Now for the assembly. On each oyster, place a piece of the crispy cured meat, add about 2 teaspoons of the arugula mixture, and top with the cheese. Return the oysters to the broiler until cheese is browned. Let cool slightly and serve.
Visit the Virginia Oyster Trail Calendar of Events regularly for listings of upcoming activities and events.