Tom Fitzmorris’ Oysters Rockefeller
2 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups green onion tops, chopped
2 cups parsley, chopped with stems removed
1 cup fresh fennel, chopped
1 cup watercress, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh garlic, chopped
3 anchovy fillets
Liquor from four dozen oysters plus enough water to make 2 cups
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 t. worcestershire sauce
2 dashes peychaud’s bitters
2 drops green food coloring (optional, but authentic)
2 sticks butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups very fine fresh bread crumbs
Four dozen oysters
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Combine the vegetables and the anchovies in small batches, and chop to a near-puree in a food processor, using just enough of the oyster water to help things along.
2. Combine this green slurry and the rest of the water in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring every now and then until the excess water is gone but the greens remain very moist. Add sugar, ketchup, salt, white pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire, bitters, and food coloring.
3. Make a blond roux with the butter and flour. Blend well into the greens, until the sauce takes on a different, lighter texture. Then mix in the bread crumbs.
4. Place large, fresh oysters into oyster shells, small ovenproof ramekins or small au gratin dishes. Top each oyster with a generous tablespoon of sauce (or more, if you like). Bake 15 minutes, or until the top of the sauce has barely begun to brown. Serve immediately.
NOTE: If you bake oysters using oyster shells, serve on a bed of rock salt or a napkin to keep the shells from rocking.
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