When Jules Alciatore took over management of New Orleans' famed Antoine's Restaurant in 1899, he recognized that the taste for the escargot his father had made famous was fading. To make matters even worse, the imported French snails traditionally used were in short supply.
As a result, Monsieur Jules decided to substitute a local product to insure consistent availability and price control. He chose oysters and soon he succeeded in adapting the Restaurant's snail recipe to the new ingredient.
His talents resulted in Jules Alciatore being known among chefs as a pioneer in the preparation of cooking oysters. Prior to his culinary creations, oysters were seldom cooked and largely eaten raw at oyster bars and from street corner push carts.
According to legend, his adapted snail-now-oyster dish gained its name because its dollar-green color and out-of-this-world richness caused a delighted customer to exclaim loudly after eating the new dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”
John D. Rockefeller was at that time the richest man in America. With such an esteemed name no other American dish has received as much praise and attention as Oysters Rockefeller.
That said, innovation has always been the hallmark of culinary creativity. Thanks to chefs such as Nathan Myhrvold and culinary sites like ChefSteps, there are two new interpretation of the Hollandaise Sauce that classically tops Oysters Rockefeller.
One method involves the use of whipped cream dispenser.
Molecular Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
- 325 g butter, cubed (results in approx. 500 ml of clarified butter)
- 3 egg yolks, 1 whole egg
- 25 g diced shallots or onions
- 50 ml dry white wine, lemon juice or somewhat mild vinegar
- 0.5 – 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 crushed black peppercorns
- salt, white or cayenne pepper and a pinch of sugar
- Melt the butter.
- Sauté the shallots in vegetable oil until translucent.
- Add the peppercorns, bay leaf and lemon/vinegar.
- Add white wine and reduce for about 3 minutes.
- Strain the reduction through a fine sieve.
- Whisk the egg yolk and whole egg with 4 tbsp. of the reduction over the water bath (approx. 70 °C).
- Add the butter (approx. 50 °C) in drops, and then gradually stir in.
- Season to taste.
- Pour the sauce into the 0.5 L Cream Whipper.
- Screw on 1 cream charger and shake vigorously.
- Serve immediately over Eggs Benedict.
The second method involved hot water.
Sous Vida Hollandaise Sauce
One final note - to maintain a grounding in tradition be sure to use a base of puréed parsley, not spinach, beneath the oysters.