Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oysters Are Our Muse Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters have become our summer muse!

We fell in love with Oysters Rockefeller at the Matunuck Oyster Bar while on vacation.

And how could we not! Aside from the terrific fresh seafood, look at this place!

A deck overlooking the oyster farm. Inside there's a cozy room with a view. Windows are wide open, welcoming a warm salty breeze.

Fresh oysters are shucked before our eyes.

And brought to our table in all their briny goodness.

Baked to perfection in a dreamy sauce. And they're tasty raw too.

Sustainable and local farm friendly.

 Now, that's a rustic oyster.

On our third visit, I had to ask for the recipe. I didn't think the chef would give away his secret recipe but was happy to have the basic ingredients. I made Oysters Rockefeller with similar ingredients before in a French cooking class at Johnson & Wales so I was pretty sure we could figure it out.

Our Great Oyster Adventure
Before attempting the recipe at home, my daughter and I decided to go on an oyster-tasting adventure. We drove to Boston and tried the oysters at the Neptune Oyster Bar on the North End then at the historic Union Oyster House.

No Oysters Rockefeller at Neptune so we enjoyed raw oysters.

Salem Street on the North End of Boston

After enjoying oysters and the charming French bistro interior, and some other delicious appetizers, we were off to the Union Oyster House nearby where we did find Oysters Rockefeller. They were good but we agreed Matunuck was the winner.

It's a great old colonial building and nicely decorated to period.
Charming, but lighting was not suitable for photographing
with an iPhone!

Our Oysters Rockefeller
With the adventure behind us, it was now time to make these delicacies ourselves. Armed with the list of ingredients from the chef at Matunuck Oyster Bar, we shopped then cooked. We were lucky to find Matunuck oysters at Whole Foods in Providence. We carefully thought out the proportions and method.

And we did it! Delicious!

Here's how:
Blend two strips of cooked bacon (we used low sodium) with 1 cup of round crackers (we used Late July Classic Rich) and 1 teaspoon softened butter (unsalted).

Just put a bunch of crackers in a cup, no need to be precise, and process the crackers, bacon, and butter until they are blended into fluffy fine crumbs. Set aside.

Wash and coarsely chop 1 cup of spinach (we used baby spinach just because we like it and wanted the leftovers for a salad. Regular spinach would be fine).

Mince a small shallot and measure out 1/2 teaspoon and save the rest for another meal.

Saute the minced shallot and spinach in 1 teaspoon of butter. When spinach is soft and tender, add a splash of Pernod, about 1/2 teaspoon, then 1/2 cup heavy cream. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper (we just added pepper) to taste.

Shuck the oysters, or ask your strong husband to do it. Be careful to leave the liquid or liquor -- it's precious, very precious.

Spread the oysters on a baking sheet without spilling a drop of their precious liquor and top with the cream mixture. Sprinkle a little of the bacon cracker crumbs on top.

Broil on low for about 4 minutes or until the oysters are cooked and the tops are lightly browned.


Oysters Rockefeller Recipe
Inspired by the chef at Matunuck Oyster Bar.
I received ingredients but not proportions. Since I'm not a chef or a recipe developer there'll be some leftovers. Just play and have fun. Make changes that suit your taste.

Crumb Topping
Makes a lot more than what's needed. Cut recipe in half if you want or use leftovers on fish another night or make more Oysters Rockefeller!
2 strips cooked bacon
1 cup buttered round crackers
1 teaspoon softened butter

Blend together in a food processor until fine and crumbly.

Cream Mixture
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
Splash or about 1/4 teaspoon Pernod
Salt and pepper to taste

12-16 medium or large oysters (we made 12 medium, but had enough cream mixture for about 16)

Shuck oysters, being careful to leave the oyster liquor, and lay them out on a baking sheet. Over medium high heat in a saute pan, melt butter and saute shallots and spinach a few minutes until tender. Add a splash or 1/4 teaspoon Pernod then the cream. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Season to taste.

With a teaspoon, top each oyster with cream mixture then sprinkle with crumb topping. Heat under a low broil until oysters are cooked and top is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Watch them because every stove is different - this is how it worked with my stove.

* * *

"As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea
 and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, 
leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, 
and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell 
and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, 
I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans." 

~ Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

This quote is also on Neptune Oyster Bar's website.


  1. Great and fun pictures..I think my husband would love these..

  2. Thanks Sandra! I wish I had brought my camera though. I thought my new iPhone would work - the pictures look clearer on the phone than here. Trials and errors! Always learning

  3. Great post and love the photos. I'm following now.

  4. Hi Christine! Good to hear from you again. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for following.

  5. I'm sure I would love these - despite not being a fan of the texture of oysters. The recipe sounds great.

  6. Thanks Ruth! We're not a fan of raw oysters, we now know that for sure! But, cooked like this, yummy.

  7. Who wouldn't fall in love with those Oysters Rockefeller and that Oyster Bar?!
    I love eating oysters raw with cocktail sauce...but I love them baked too! Your version is stunning, Lin!

  8. You are simply mad, woman! Mad, mad! I love how you take advantage of the local harvest, and scour the coastline in mad search of its secrets.
    I will be dreaming all night of these oysters.

    (I've got to get you out on a hunt with me!)

    And oyster liquor? Is there an oyster martini recipe you're not telling us about? ;)

  9. Tina, I'm not sure how I feel about raw oysters yet. It was good but weird! Thanks so much for your compliment and sharing in my delight!

    Jayne girl, you got it right! And let's go! Yes, oyster liquor - that's what the chef at J&W called it and I like it!!!

  10. Oh, what a fabulous adventure for you and your daughter! You are such a fun mom! Wish I had such beautiful, fresh oysters nearby~

  11. What a fabulous adventure you jealous!
    Love that amazing oyster place, such a historic area!
    Your Oyster Rockefeller turned out super amazing!
    Haven't seen this recipe, or made it in you are inspiring me:D

  12. Hello! I was introduced to your blog by a friend and I love it so much!! You always have wonderful recipies and ideas. I know you have alot of recipies with low-salt for different diets but I was wondering if you have ever made anything gluten free.I struggle with providing organic all natural good foods for my daughter who is severly allergic to wheat. any ideas?

  13. I can not tell you enough how much I enjoyed this post, Lin Ann. As a matter of fact, I was here this morning but I had to run and just got back. I've been thinking about you and your daughter's escapade all day. Not to mention your deliciously looking, successful attempt at Oysters Rockefeller. Oh goodness!

    I'm hoping to do a post about oysters on Friday for National Oyster Day. I do hope I get to it. I would love to include the Oyster Rockefeller recipe from Antoine's which I believe may be its "birthplace."

    You two did a GREAT job and this post was so deliciously heartfelt and fun, I just loved it.

    Thanks for sharing, Lin Ann...

    BTW, just in case I don't get to the post, here's a quick recipe you and your daughter may like.
    Oyster Brochette
    Wrap 6 raw oysters and 6 fresh mushroom heads separately in bacon and alternate on skewers. Dip in a mixture of 1 cup oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. English mustard and a pinch of pepper. Roll in crumbs and slowly fry in butter for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with lemon butter:) Oh so good!!!

  14. Oh Louise! That recipe does sound wonderful. We'll try it and will definitely let you know when we do. I hope you get to that post and I'll be looking for it - perfect timing! But I certainly understand if you don't. Take care of yourself. Hugs, LA

  15. Thank you Lizzy! And I never knew we had these beautiful oysters before this summer! I'm so glad we vacationed in Matunuck.

    Thanks Elisabeth! Being a chef and living near the ocean, I would love to hear about your recipe! I'll visit soon and let you know in case you don't happen to see this.

    Hi Anonymous, it is hard to provide a gluten-free diet from what I've heard and tried myself (only because I think I'm a little sensitive). I've also read that it's tricky to bake with gluten-free flours. Have you looked at and They explain all the gluten-free flour options and offer recipes. And I only saw 1 blogger who has a daughter allergic to gluten but can't remember and I'm not sure. An idea I have off the top of my head is one a friend just told me about for lasagne - use thin slices (the long way) of zucchini as a substitute for the pasta. And, of course, use organic zucchini, sauce, and cheeses (I'll be doing a post soon on this). I'm working on a project right now and will be away from my blog for the rest of the week, but will think of options and I certainly can work out some organic, all-natural recipes and ideas and post them with what you wrote in mind. Thank you for visiting and for your question! I'm always willing to help with organic, all-natural food ideas.