Oysters Rockefeller

James Beard

Author and Educator

In his reissued classic American Cookery, James Beard features what he deems an authentic version of this New Orleans dish. In general, the most sustainable oysters are farmed and can come from most anywhere in the world.


  • 1/3 cup chopped fennel
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots, or green onions if shallots are not available (as a matter of fact, in New Orleans they call green onions “shallots”)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chervil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 1/3 cup Pernod
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Rock salt
  • 2 dozen oysters on the half shell


Sauté the fennel, parsley, celery, shallots, chervil, and seasonings in 3 tablespoons of butter for 3 minutes. Add the watercress and let it wilt. Scrape into a blender, add the Pernod, and blend for 1 minute. Combine with the crumbs and remaining butter. Season well with salt and pepper.

Arrange the oysters on a bed of rock salt in a metal roasting pan. Dampen the salt lightly with water. Spoon about 1 good teaspoon of the mixture onto each oyster. Bake at 450°F for about 4 minutes, or just long enough for the oysters and sauce to heat through.


4 to 6 servings