National Oyster Day

August 5th celebrates the different species of bivalve mollusks that can be eaten. Hello, Oysters! Since Roman times there is evidence of oysters as a culinary treat. In the 19th century, NY harbor was the largest producer of oysters in the world.




The most nutritious way to consume oysters is raw, simply served with cocktail sauce, vinegar, or lemon. But raw oyster consumption is not for everyone.



Thankfully, oysters can also be boiled, steamed, roasted, or fried. Grilled, scalloped, and stewed oysters are also popular.

The most popular hot oyster dish, by far, is Oysters Rockefeller. In 1889, the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s became the site where the founder’s son, Jules Alciatore, developed the now famous dish during a shortage of escargot. After that substitution, they never looked back. Best yet, they are Super Simple, and yet impressive. So, let’s cook up a batch… in the oven or on the grill.

Super Simple Oysters Rockefeller
24 live oysters in shells, rinsed, cleaned, opened & top shells discarded
4-5 T butter
2 finely minced shallots (or ½ c finely chopped sweet onion)
10-12 oz fresh baby spinach, stems removed & discarded
2 T Pernod, white wine, or vermouth
1 T fresh lemon juice
12 oz heavy cream
½ c finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 slices cooked & crumbled bacon (optional)
½ tsp each: ground black pepper & garlic powder
¼ c panko breadcrumbs
Rock salt & lemon wedges, for serving

Use a sharp paring knife to cut under each oyster, loosening them from the shells, but saving the shells & juices.  Place on baking sheet & refrigerate. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté & stir shallots for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and wine. As spinach wilts, add lemon juice, cream, cheese, bacon, pepper & garlic. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and let cook till liquid has reduced by half. Cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. To serve, scoop 1 T spinach mixture onto each oyster. Sprinkle with panko. Bake 8-10 min at 375˚F. Serve immediately on rock salt bed with lemon wedges, either on a single platter or portioned serving plates.

KISS Tips: Try your own variations as this works well with clams, scallops, shrimp, and crabmeat. It’s also great as Chicken Rockefeller, so look for non-seafood options, too. For a hearty variation, go for Cheesy Rockefeller, by adding 4 oz of both shredded Monterey Jack and Mozzarella cheese.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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