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oyster.jpgMardi Gras is a great excuse to indulge in favorite New Orleans dishes. Load up on fresh oysters and prepare a sumptuous dish, Oysters Rockefeller, which was named after the richest man because the dish is so rich. The fresh oysters in the shell are twice sauced: spinach-pernod and creamy cheese sauces.

The best knives for opening oysters are the sharp and stainless tools made by Rosle. Oysters should be alive when you open them and the insides plump and moist, not dry. Oysters are best eaten as soon as they are opened. Make the sauces, then open the oysters, sauce them, and bake them.

Oysters Rockefeller

For the spinach sauce: 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons pernod
  • ¾ cup oyster liquor or fish stock
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ pound fresh spinach, washed and spun dry and chopped

Melt the butter, add the flour, and stir the roux over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the pernod, stock, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire, and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, then fold in the spinach and cook until wilted. Cool.

For the cheese sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper, and freshly-grated nutmeg to taste
  • ½ cup grated gruyere cheese

Melt the butter and add the flour to combine. Do not brown. Add the milk and cream and seasonings. Stir over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and let cool.

To assemble:

  • 20 fresh oysters, shucked
  • Breadcrumbs as needed

Place a spoonful of the spinach sauce on the bottom of an oyster shell, then top with a raw oyster, then top with a spoonful of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with a few breadcrumbs. Broil for a few minutes until browned and bubbly and serve hot.

Love oysters? Join Chef Jack MacMurray of Sage on March 31 for his best deep-fried oysters.