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How to celebrate National Oyster Rockefeller Day

Yes, there is a day for everything and we are grateful for the National Day that is today — National Oyster Rockefeller Day. It’s no secret that we love oysters on the Gulf Coast; raw, baked, smoked, on a cracker or on the half shell we love all shapes, sizes and flavors. But today, January 10, we celebrate a baked favorite that is named the Oyster Rockefeller.

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The History

A humble family-owned restaurant in New Orleans established by Antoine Alciatore —  Antoine’s Restaurant — specialized in dishes made with snails in the late 1850s. At the end of the 1880s, there was a shortage of European snails. This was when Jules Alciatore, the son of Antoine Alciatore, decided to replace snails with locally sourced oysters. He combined a butter sauce with green vegetables and invented a rich dish with oysters as the primary ingredient. It was so extremely rich that it was named after the millionaire, John D. Rockefeller, who was the wealthiest man at the time.

In just a few months, grilled Oysters Rockefeller became a popular dish across America and then across the world. Many chefs and restaurants now serve their variant of Oysters Rockefeller. The original recipe is a closely guarded family secret. It has been lab-tested and some of the ingredients, including parsley and chives, were figured out, but the original has never been copied successfully. Today, Antoine’s restaurant is serving hundreds of servings of this dish every day and has dished up millions of portions of Oysters Rockefeller since that first. Antonie’s celebrates this day by offering orders of Oysters Rockefeller for just $5 for those in New Orleans.

Where to get them in Pensacola

There are plenty of spots that offer this New Orlean’s specialty, and they all have their own little take on how they prepare them. Here are five of our favorites.

1) Restaurant Nola — Charbroiled with spinach, cream cheese, butter, garlic.

2) Peg Leg Pete’s — A perfectly seasoned spinach mixture topped with Parmesan cheese and bacon.

3) Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar — Housemade Cream Spinach Anisette Liquor with Bacon Topped with Parmesan Cheese

4) Pearl and Horn — Spinach, bacon, parmesan, panko.

5) O’Brien’s Bistro — Sautéed spinach, onions, bacon & parmesan cheese.

Make them yourself:

Want to give this a tradition a go? Snag some oysters from Joe Patti’s SeafoodMaria’s Fresh Seafood or Perdido Bay Seafood and give the below recipe a go.

Ingredients:
– 12 fresh oysters, on the half shell
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
– 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 cup finely chopped spinach
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C).
2. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, spinach, parsley, green onions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
3. Place the oysters on a baking sheet or oven-safe dish.
4. Spoon the butter mixture over each oyster, covering it completely.
5. Bake the oysters in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the topping is golden and bubbly.
6. Remove the oysters from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
7. Serve the Oysters Rockefeller hot, with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the top.
8. Enjoy your delicious homemade Oysters Rockefeller!

We hope you find some time today to celebrate this iconic dish that has stood the test of time. Whether you enjoy at one of Pensacola’s many restaurants or prepare at home, just remember to shell-ebrate!