How I got on an Oysters Rockefeller kick, I'll never know for sure. But I needed to have them. The problem was finding a recipe.
There are some questionable accounts about what actually goes into the authentic version. Just about every recipe I found was different, significantly too. That's how I ended up with this baked oyster recipe from Alton Brown, which makes no attempt to be historically accurate. Luckily, Brown just decided to create a really great baked oyster recipe.
And that's definitely what this is. The topping is made from onion, celery, artichokes, and panko crumbs. It's spooned atop shucked oysters and baked for 10 minutes. Done.
But, unless you're an expert oyster shucker, it's not as easy as that. I've shucked an oyster or two in my day, but I still have to make some time to shuck 24 of them. Also, be careful when doing this. Blood in the oysters doesn't taste very good. Definitely check out this guide before you begin. But once you get in a rhythm, this can be knocked out in 30 minutes or so.
- 24 oysters (preferrably blue point)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup finely chopped onion, from about ½ small onion
- ¾ cup finely chopped celery, from about 1 stalk celery
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, from about 2 garlic cloves
- one 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, and finely chopped
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, from about 1 large lemon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups rock salt
Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and preheat oven to 420°F.
Pour rock salt onto a sheet pan. Shuck oysters using an oyster knife. Discard top flat shell, and then use knife to dislodge oyster from bottom shell. Keep oyster in bottom half, and retain as much of oyster liquor as possible. Nestle bottom shell with oyster in salt, making sure none of the liquor pours off.
Add butter to 12-inch sauté pan set over medium-low heat. When butter has melted, turn heat up slightly, and add onion, celery, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
Reduce heat to low and add artichoke hearts, bread crumbs, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, and oregano. Cook for 3 more minutes, until everything is very fragrant. Turn off heat.
Divide bread crumb mixture evenly on top of oysters. Set sheet pan in oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.