Oysters Rockefeller Soup

by Karin Calloway
Oysters Rockefeller is a classic combination of oysters on the half shell bathed in a luscious green sauce, sprinkled with a little cheese and broiled until bubbly. Here, the combination of ingredients is simmered together for a soup that has all the flavor of the original dish.

The soup is simpler to prepare than the classic, since the recipe calls for shucked oysters. And, the soup can be partially made ahead. Just prepare the soup up to the addition of the oyster liquor, heavy cream and half and half. At serving time, bring the mixture to a boil and add the oysters and remaining ingredients.

Chopping the fresh spinach in my Viking food processor really cuts preparation time. If you’d rather use frozen spinach, simply substitute a cup of frozen chopped spinach. Drain the spinach well and chop very finely before adding to the soup. While the recipe calls for spinach as the “green” ingredient, you can substitute finely chopped romaine or Bibb lettuce for part of the spinach, giving the soup a milder green color and a flavor even more reminiscent of the New Orleans classic.

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 quart shucked fresh oysters, drained, liquor reserved
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach, well washed and stems removed, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Herbsaint or other anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod or Ouzo
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded Swiss or Parmesan cheese
In a large heavy stockpot, cook bacon, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions, stirring occasionally, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add oyster liquor and cream and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add oysters, spinach and Herbsaint or other liqueur. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each serving with some of the shredded cheese.

Makes 8 servings.
Oysters Rockefeller Soup

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Hurricanes may have changed the landscape of the state, but the culinary traditions of Louisiana cannot be rocked. Cajun and Creole cuisine are among my favorites.