Originally from New Orleans, Oysters Rockefeller is flavorful appetizer. Oysters on the half shell are topped with a rich mixture of spinach or parsley, cheese, and butter, and baked.
Rebecca transformed this classic holiday appetizer into a soup for a comforting meal option.
Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen Christmas: Big-Hearted Holiday Entertaining, Texas Style.”
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté for 1 minute more, making sure the garlic does not burn. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking steadily. Whisk in the clam juice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat while you prepare the spinach mixture.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the spinach and sauté until it cooks down, 2-3 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the Herbsaint* or Pernod and cook about 3 minutes more. Stir the spinach mixture into the onion and clam juice mixture. Add the cream, blue cheese, and the remaining ½ cup liqueur. Stir until the mixture is hot but not boiling. Add the salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the oysters, let them cook a few minutes, and then serve immediately.
*Note: Herbsaint liqueur is an anise-flavored spirit made in New Orleans and difficult to find outside of the South. Pernod, available at most liquor stores, is a good substitute.