Oysters Aladdin

  • Prep Time
    20 minutes
  • Cook Time
    1 hour
  • View
On May 1, 1967, at 9:00 a.m., Elvis and Priscilla got married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.  After the 8 minute ceremony in which the word, “obey,” was omitted at Elvis’s request, the couple hosted a lavish buffet for 100 of their closest friends.  Roasted pig, lobster, fried chicken and Oysters Rockefeller were served.  Then the couple flew to Palm Springs in Frank Sinatra’s plane and honeymooned in a gorgeous mid-century hideaway.
Elvis was famous for his appetite and so it didn’t surprise me that he loved these oysters enough to have them on his wedding day menu.  Oysters Rockefeller at Antoine’s is my favorite dish at my favorite restaurant, and over the years, I have eaten that dish with all my favorite people.  I love, love, love Oysters Rockefeller.  But Oysters Rockefeller is unique to Antoine’s and it CANNOT be duplicated.  The proprietors at that venerable restaurant have never given out the recipe.  I would pay dearly for the secret but even the waiters are mum when you try to tease it out of them.  I can tell you the recipe contains no spinach and no bacon.  The “secret” seems to be tarragon but that’s my opinion and guess.  At any rate, when I decided to honor Elvis by re-creating a part of his and Priscilla’s wedding menu, I knew I could not produce an authentic Rockefeller dressing.  But, I came close with a recipe I adapted from Saveur magazine.  What I added was the pecorino cheese butter (left over from my grilled sourdough and cheese sandwich a few days earlier).  I do not present these as Oysters Rockefeller because that would be sacrilege, pretentious and false advertising.  I’m calling them Oysters Aladdin in homage to Elvis and Priscilla.  By the way, they welcomed their daughter nine months after the wedding, and divorced in 1973.  Good times don’t always last… but that doesn’t mean those times weren’t great while they lasted.  Check out these pictures of the happy couple when they were happy.


Oysters Aladdin


    It's the tarragon that gives this oyster dressing a licorice type flavor. Take your time cooking the greens down because they need to be mushy enough to turn into a puree that you can pipe over the oysters before you broil them.

    Step 1

    Drain the oysters in a sieve or colander so that you get 1/2 cup of oyster liquid (i.e., oyster liquor).

    Step 2

    Make a blond roux: Melt the butter over medium high heat, and when the butter is hot and sizzling just a bit (but before it browns!) add the flour and make a roux. You'll get a thick paste pretty quickly.

    Step 3

    Add the oyster liquid. Keep stirring.

    Step 4

    Add the greens. Stir.

    Step 5

    Add a gob of pecorino butter and keep stirring.

    Step 6

    Cook the greens for about an hour. They should soft and mushy.

    Step 7

    Stir in the bread crumbs.

    Step 8

    Put the greens and crumbs in a food processor and puree.

    Step 9

    When you have a good puree, put the mixture in a piping bag ( I used a Wilton disposable one with an attached tip that I got from Party Store).

    Step 10

    If you didn't shuck fresh oysters, use ceramic oyster shells and arrange them on a baking sheet. Place one or two oysters in each shell. Then, pipe the green puree onto the oysters in a circular pattern.

    Step 11

    Broil until the green dressing gets a slightly brownish tint and the oysters are bubbling. This was about 8 minutes under my broiler on HI. But, I have found that everybody's broiler is a little different. Don't walk away and don't start a phone conversation with your mother. Watch this. You have to get the texture of the dressing just right. I like the slightest bit of "crust," for lack of a better explanation. The bright green greens go a little dark... that's perfect.

    Step 12

    Very important: Serve with a lemon wedge. That squirt of citrus is essential!

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