Welcome Home Dinner!

Himself is not known for his cooking skills. Upon retirement he did declare that he would cook at least one night a week. I’m afraid that did not last for long, but now he was declaring that by being in the kitchen he was in my space. That last part could be true, as the kitchen also serves as my office, but I can always leave !

Anyway, having left him home alone for two weeks, whilst I went on a girls golf trip to China, he decided he would put his cooking skills once more to the test. I have to say that we  were in our house in the French Alps, so it made his choice of dinner slightly easier. Oysters Rockefeller, apart from Fish and Chips, my childhood favourite, Oysters Rockefeller, has to be my perfect dinner, and in France in the supermarkets they are cheap and abundant. And so it was we ate 40 oysters for dinner that night. Heaven! 

And they are not complicated to make and can be easily made in advance, refrigerated and thrown under the grill just before serving. As we were driving back from France we bought another casket of 40, to have in the UK upon our return.

Even if you do not like raw oysters, try them cooked this way, it may just change your mind.

This rich dish is named after Rockefeller and was created in 1899 by Jules Alciatore, the chef in the famed New Orleans restaurant, Antoines. As with Coca Cola, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, the original recipe is a secret. Consequently there are as many variations around as types of Oysters, but the basic ingredients are the same. Onions, shallots or green chopped, celery breadcrumbs, butter, Tabasco , Pernod or Absinthe. 

For a starter portion, allow 4-6 oysters per person.

3 Shallots or 6 green onions chopped

1stick celery, chopped

4 oz butter

4 tablespoons fine white breadcrumbs, can use Panko crumbs if that is what you have in the pantry!

3 cups fresh spinach chopped 

A sprinkle of fennel seeds ( these have the same taste as Pernod 

Dash of Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and Pernod or absinthe, some finely grated Parmesan cheese, 4 strips of bacon, chopped and sauteed until crisp, this is an optional extra.

Rock salt or crumpled aluminium foil to balance the Oysters on in the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 F, 230 C gas 8

Sauté the onions and celery in some butter until tender. Add the spinach and when wilted drain, as it will give off some water. Add the breadcrumbs, Fennel seeds, Tabasco ( or any other hot sauce) Worcestershire sauce and Pernod. Blend together adding more butter if necessary, to make a soft but stiff mixture. , shuck the Oysters drain off some of the water, loosen them from the shell, arrange on a baking tray. Divided the mixture between the oysters top with the Parmesan and crumbled bacon if using. Place in the oven for about 10 mins. Until bubbling. Serve at once with a slice of lemon.

Oysters tend to be fairly expensive in the UK, though I did find some at While Foods, in Kensington high street which were English, very large and a £1 each! Otherwise, if you go o a Chaney supermarket, one can buy frozen oysters, which work well for this recipe, just make sure you have saved some oyster shells from a previous dinner!

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