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Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller
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Back in 1899, Antoine’s in New Orleans served the first Oysters Rockefeller. Most restaurants that delve into bivalves serve a version of this sinfully-rich take on John D. Rockefeller’s namesake dish. The creamy, cheesy sauce robes the oyster meat with crunchy bacon and buttery bread crumb topper. An oldie but a goodie, this appetizer deserves a special place on your holiday menu, but I could make a meal of it any day of the week.

It’s that easy: Pernod is a licorice or fennel flavored liquor from France. A touch of it can make seafood dishes sing, so if you have some in your liquor cabinet add it, but if you have to buy a bottle just for this dish, go ahead and skip it if you like. The dish is fabulous either way.

Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller


  • 1 cup kale, stems removed
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liquor
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • About 3 pounds kosher salt for baking and serving
  • 18 fresh oysters, shells scrubbed, shucked, on the half shell


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. On a large cutting board, chop the kale finely, discarding tough stems. Slice the onion thinly, both white and green parts and mince the garlic and parsley in separate piles.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, turning, until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble into small pieces. Reserve.
  4. To the hot fat in the pan, add the kale, green onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and half-and-half and continue to stir until it thickens, 1 minute. Stir in the cheese until it melts, 1 minute. Stir in the parsley, Pernod, if using, and hot pepper sauce. Taste and add salt if needed and a few grinds of pepper. Keep warm. If the sauce becomes too thick, thin it with a little more milk
  5. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the panko.
  6. Spread the kosher salt over a baking sheet to a depth of about 1/2-inch. Arrange the oysters in half shells on top of the salt, making sure that they are stable and won’t roll over. Top each oyster with a tablespoon or so of the sauce mixture, a crumble of bacon and sprinkle with a sprinkle of the panko mixture.
  7. Bake the oysters in the upper rack of the oven until the crumbs brown and the edges of the oysters begin to curl, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. While the oysters are cooking, pour about 1/2-cup of the kosher salt onto each of 6 serving plates. Carefully arrange the hot oysters on top of the salt (make sure they are stable before you carry them to the table) and serve immediately.

In the glass: Glorious champagne!

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Oysters Rockefeller.

Carla Snyder

By Carla Snyder

Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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