Oysters Rockefeller is a crowd favorite at Costas Inn. So many people love this delicious dish that we decided to share its intriguing backstory. The story of Oysters Rockefeller is shrouded in mystery; or, at least, the original recipe is. To learn what makes the elusive Oysters Rockefeller so appealing, we have to start with its invention in the late 1800s.
Oysters Rockefeller: An Intriguing History
After spending two years trying to open a restaurant in New York, Antoine Alciatore moved to New Orleans and successfully opened his restaurant in 1840. 59 years later, in 1899, Alciatore’s restaurant was still going strong, and Alciatore’s son, Jules Alciatore, had a brilliant idea for a new recipe to add to the menu.
French snails, which were a popular menu item in New Orleans at the time, were experiencing a shortage. In order to make up for the lack of snail, Jules decided to create a new dish out of oysters, which were in plentiful supply. Consisting of oysters on the half-shell topped with a green sauce, he named the dish “Oysters Rockefeller” because of the rich sauce that was green as money, reminding people of the famous contemporary millionaire J. D. Rockefeller. The new dish was a smash hit and a smart business move on behalf of the restaurant. Not only did it utilize oysters, which were similar to snails but less expensive for the restaurant to purchase, he simultaneously created a dish that had the novelty of newness and the mystique of a secret recipe.
Many have attempted to replicate the original recipe of Oysters Rockefeller. The only thing that has been revealed about the original recipe is that the dark green sauce did not contain spinach. However, many restaurants all over the world, including Costas Inn, have utilized spinach in their versions of the recipe in order to give it a dark, palatable color and great flavor. In 1986, a laboratory analysis was conducted to attempt to reveal the original recipe. The results stated that the sauce contained parsley, celery, scallions or chives, olive oil, and capers. However, many still dispute the results or posit their own hypothesis about the contents of the original recipe. No matter what was in the original Oysters Rockefeller recipe, the Oysters Rockefeller we know today is tailored to many different delicious versions by many different restaurants. Bon apetit!
Come Visit Costas Inn!
Costas Inn has been a family owned and operated restaurant for over 40 years. We were recently voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today. You may have spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass. We were also voted #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal! You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for anytime eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube!
Tags: menu items, oysters, oysters rockefeller