Wikipedia reports, “Oysters Rockefeller was created at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s. Antoine’s was founded in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore, who moved to New Orleans after two frustrating years in New York trying to open a restaurant of his own. The dish was created in 1899 by Jules Alciatore, son of the restaurant’s founder.  The dish was named oysters Rockefeller after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time, for the intense richness of the sauce.  Though the original recipe remains a secret, the sauce is known to be a purée of a number of green vegetables other than spinach.  It consists of oysters on the half-shell topped with the sauce and bread crumbs and then baked. Jules Alciatore developed oysters Rockefeller in the face of a shortage of French snails, substituting the locally available oysters for snails. A 1986 laboratory analysis by William Poundstone in Bigger Secrets indicated that the primary ingredients were parsley, pureed and strained celery, scallions or chives (indistinguishable in a food lab), olive oil, and capers.  Here’s my version, which is Colorado meets New Orleans (and which tastes better than the original, we think):


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, Panko preferred
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 dozen oysters, on the half shell
  • 3 pounds coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • 1 bunch cilantro, with stems roughly chopped off
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1 T. jalapeno jelly
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds stems and veins removed

In a pan add 6 T. butter and 1 T. chopped garlic, cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic becomes aromatic.


Melt butter in a skillet. Saute the garlic for 2 minutes to infuse the butter. Place the bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and add half the garlic butter, set aside.  For the sauce, puree in a blender the following: 1 handful of cilantro leaves, 1 T. olive oil, 1 T. chopped garlic, 1 T. jalapeno jelly, 1 jalapeno with seeds, stems and veins removed.  Finish off the bread crumbs by mixing in olive oil abnd Parmesan, season with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 teaspoon of the sauce mixture on each oyster followed by a spoonful of the bread crumb mixture. Sprinkle a baking pan amply with rock salt. Arrange the oysters in the salt to steady them. Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and red pepper sauce.

Can also be served with an optional, extra dose of Mignonette Sauce on the side:


  • 3/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chervil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving with oysters. Yield: 3/4 cup