Named after Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller due to the richness of the dish’s buttery sauce, oysters Rockefeller was devised by Jules Alciatore in 1899 at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Often imitated but never truly duplicated, oysters Rockefeller were originally meant to be escargots Rockefeller, but Alciatore had to switch his seafood selection due to the lack of locally available French snails, according to The Times-Picayune.
When Peeko Oysters owner and founder Peter Stein started playing around with making an alternative to Alciatore’s Rockefeller recipe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t switch to escargots, but he did come up with a dish that stands apart from the oyster offering on Antoine’s menu.
“Often people only think of oysters as being able to be prepared on the half shell,” Stein tells InsideHook. “I have taken to doing a lot of grilling and broiling of oysters lately. It gives you a lot of different flavor profiles. I’m enthusiastic about trying to get people to enjoy oysters in ways other than just on the half shell.”
Stein’s new way of enjoying oysters? Topped with cheese and artichokes.
“The first time I did it, I put a big jumbo oyster I had shucked into a muffin tin and then played around with some toppings,” he says. “I experimented with artichoke hearts and some Parmesan cheese and some herbs. I think the artichokes bring in a very nice flavor that isn’t overpowering and the textures of the oyster and the artichoke heart go really well together. Also, I could put Parmesan cheese on cardboard and enjoy it.”
According to Stein, his dish brings the flavor of the oysters to the forefront, something that doesn’t always happen with the Rockefeller recipe.
“In my opinion, if you’re eating oysters, the oyster should be the star of the show,” he says. “Oftentimes, when people prepare oysters Rockefeller, the oyster gets cooked too long and starts to shrivel up and become almost like a raisin. I also find oftentimes, with all the spinach and the cream that people typically use in oysters Rockefeller, it is a dish where the oyster kind of falls into a supporting actor role as opposed to the star of the show. This recipe is really trying to make sure the oyster is cooked enough to get all the flavors to mix and mingle, but not to cook it too long to where the oyster starts to disappear.”
Wanna find out what he’s talking about? Get shucking and follow the recipe below.
Peeko’s Baked Artichoke Oysters
- 24 oysters
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- One 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts drained and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, from about 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups rock salt
- Parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 420º F.
- Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat and add artichoke hearts. Stir continuously until artichoke hearts begin to brown. Add lemon zest and a pinch of salt.
- Pour rock salt onto a sheet pan to keep the oyster shells from rolling or tipping. Nestle shucked oysters in salt, making sure none of the liquid pours off.
- Stack ingredients on top of oysters, splitting evenly: one slice of mozzarella, parmesan cheese, sautéed artichokes and chopped parsley.
- Set sheet pan in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.
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