If you have ever tried or heard of Oysters Rockefeller, then you are sure to have heard that there is a bit of mystery around the dish and its original recipe. Oysters Rockefeller is a deliciously succulent dish that is served on the half shell with a sauce usually made from garlic, onion, celery, spinach, and a few other ingredients. However, it is unlikely that the recipe used at one restaurant is the same recipe that is used at another. The reason for this is because no one truly knows the original recipe except for the ancestors of the man that created it. So, when you try Oysters Rockefeller at different restaurants, the recipe is sure to change with the chef because there is no one agreed-upon recipe.
Today, we are going to discuss the invention of Oysters Rockefeller, how the famous dish got its name, and the secret recipe, that to this day, still remains a secret. Continue reading to learn more about the history of Oysters Rockefeller and when you are ready to try this dish for yourself visit Lakeside Anchor Inn in Lantana for some of the best Oysters Rockefeller you’ve ever tasted.
The Inventor: Jules Alciatore
Jule Alciatore was the son of Antoine Alciatore, a Frenchman who opened a restaurant in 1840 in New Orleans called Antoine’s Restaurant. Jules eventually took over the family restaurant and in 1899 created the dish we know today as Oysters Rockefeller. The restaurant has been passed down within the family ever since and is currently owned and operated by fifth-generation relatives of the Antoine.
What’s in a Name?
There are several theories about how the famous dish got its name. It’s thought that the green veggies in the sauce are an ode to all the green that Rockefeller made. And in another story, a customer tries the dish for the first time and shouts, “These are as rich as a Rockefeller!” It is generally believed that the dish was given its name due to its richness, whether that is in color or flavor, we may never know exactly.
Escargots a la Rockefeller
When Jules Alciatore was originally creating this dish he wanted to use escargots. However, there happened to be a shortage of French snails and he was forced to consider other options. Oysters were local, so they were always fresh and abundant. That is why we have this famous dish called Oysters Rockefeller rather than Escargots a la Rockefeller.
The Secret Recipe
To this day nobody knows the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe except for the family of Jules Alciatore. It’s been said that even on his deathbed, Jules refused to give up the recipe. It has been continued to be passed down through his family and is still being made at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Chefs around the world still work to recreate the succulent dish, although it’s said that no one has ever cracked the code exactly. While most of us cannot make a special trip to New Orleans every time we have a craving for Oysters Rockefeller, there are plenty of other options to the original. The Oysters Rockefeller at Lakeside Anchor Inn is about as close as it gets. Take a look at our menu for this dish and plenty of other fantastic seafood.
While the original recipe is heavily guarded and many chefs have tried to recreate the dish over the past 100+ years, there are some ingredients that are generally agreed upon. In fact, in 1986, there was a laboratory analysis conducted to find what ingredients were present in the original Oysters Rockefeller. The results concluded that the sauce contained parsley, celery, green onion, olive oil, and capers. But no matter what the results say, there is no way to know the exact ratios of the ingredients.
It has also been discovered that while most chefs today use spinach in the sauce that the original recipe more likely used watercress. Spinach is used today because it gives the sauce a desirable deep, rich green color.
There are also theories that say the recipe for Oysters Rockefeller was based upon one of Jule’s father’s recipes, Escarogots Bourguingnonne. This recipe includes a sauce composed of minced parsley, minced green onions, minced garlic, and lots and lots of butter. Seeing as Jules had intended to make an escargot dish, it makes sense that he would start with one of his father’s recipes and add his own touch to it to showcase the oysters.
We can theorize all day about how the recipe was made and what the ingredients are, but the truth is that we will never truly know Jules Alcaitore’s original recipe for Oysters Rockefeller.
What Is Oysters Rockefeller?
Today, the recipes used to create Oysters Rockefeller vary from chef to chef, but the steps to make it are all somewhat the same. You begin by shucking oysters. The top half of the shell can be discarded, as they are served on the half shell. They are cooked in the broiler and then topped with a sauce and baked. The sauce usually contains spinach, onions or shallots, garlic, celery, and butter. The sauce is cooked in a saute pan, placed on top of the oysters, and finally topped with bread crumbs before going into the oven.
Some recipes like to use bacon, others use white wine and Worcestershire sauce, and others even use absinthe. Most chefs have come to accept that they will never discover the original Jules Alciatore Oysters Rockefeller recipe and instead have begun to put their own twist on it and many have created delicious variations of the original dish.
Try the Oysters Rockefeller at Lakeside Anchor Inn
Now that you know the fascinating history behind the delicious dish, it’s time to try Oysters Rockefeller for yourself. At Lakeside Anchor Inn, Oysters Rockefeller is one of our favorite dishes, but we also serve plenty of other succulent seafood dishes, burgers, chicken, steaks, and more. We have something for everyone on our menu. View our menu and order takeout, delivery, or stop by and see us today on Lantana Beach.