Oysters Rockefeller

(Makes 8 servings)

  • 1 pound butter
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ to ¾ cup Herbsaint or Pernod
  • 1¼ cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 48 oysters, in their shells
  • Rock salt

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the celery, scallions and parsley. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Add the Herbsaint or Pernod and bread crumbs and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for I hour, until cold but not firmly set.

Using an oyster knife, pry open the oyster shells, then remove the oysters. Discard the top shells; scrub and dry the bottom shells. Drain the oysters. Arrange 6 oyster shells on an ovenproof pan or tray lined with a layer of rock salt about an inch deep. Make 8 trays in all. Place 1 oyster in each shell.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the chilled Rockefeller topping from the refrigerator and beat it with an electric mixer to evenly distribute the butter andinfuse air into the mixture; transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe a tablespoon of the mixture onto each oyster; then bake in the hot oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Serve each person a tray of piping hot oysters.

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