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Oysters RockefellerIf you haven't made Oysters Rockefeller and Bananas Foster, now is the time - Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras are upon us! Besides, what's better than New Orleans food?

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Mardi Gras, the colorful purple, green, and gold holiday, falls on Tuesday, March 4th. The city of New Orleans goes all out with parties, music, parades, costumes, masks, beads, picnics, and, of course, the delicious and colorful King’s Cake.

Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today's King Cakes are much more festive with a doll or baby inside the cake. The cake is then decorated with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of gold, purple and green in the form of colored sugar.

The two recipes below, Oysters Rockefeller and Bananas Foster, originated at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans and a version came from a 1994 cookbook, Breakfast at Brennan’s And Dinner, Too.

In the 1950’s Owen Edward Brennan, owner of Brennan’s, created Oysters 2-2-2 or the Three Deuces, which offered customers a sampling of two each of Oysters Bienville, Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Roffignac.

Oysters Rockefeller

  • 48 oysters in their shells
  • Rock salt
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco
  • ½ to ¾ cup Pernod (according to taste)
  • 1-¼ cups seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Shuck the fresh oysters. Throw away the top shells and clean the bottom shells. Each serving comprises 6 oysters in these shells. Line an ovenproof tray with about one inch of rock salt. Make 8 servings.

Add celery, scallions and parsley to the butter, which has been melted. Sauté before adding the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Cook 10 minutes over medium heat and add the Pernod and breadcrumbs. Cook another 5 minutes before refrigerating for about an hour until cold.

When cold, use a stand mixer to aerate. Put this mixture in a pastry bag with a large tip. Pipe about a tablespoon on top of each oyster, bake in a 400 degrees oven for about 5 minutes, until heated through.

Brennan’s chef Paul Blange created Bananas Foster in 1951. It was named after Richard Foster, a civic-minded friend of Owen Brennan. Bananas came into the port of New Orleans from South and Central America and this new recipe was an instant success. It is the most requested item on the menu.

Banana Foster

  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 4 bananas, cut in rounds
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup banana liqueur
  • ¼ cup white rum

Put 1 scoop of ice cream in individual bowls that can go in the freezer. This can be done well in advance.

Cut the bananas and melt the butter, adding cinnamon, brown sugar, banana liqueur and white rum. Flambé the liqueur and rum. Put the bananas in the liquid to soften and spoon in each bowl of ice cream with part of the warm sauce.

For recipes and food tips from Sally, check out Sally's Place.

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