Total Time
1hr 35mins
Prep 1 hr 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

A New Orleans classic; originally served at Antoine’s

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Divide half the rock salt between 4 dinner plates, each large enough to hold 6 oysters.
  2. Distribute the salt evenly on each plate (this is to provide an attractive base on which the curved oyster shells can evenly rest).
  3. Test with an oyster, placing the more deeply curved shell side down.
  4. If you need more salt to support the shells, add it; set plates aside.
  5. Now, divided the remaining salt between two roasting pans, each large enough to hold a dozen oysters in one layer.
  6. Distribute the salt as you did for the plates (if you run out of salt, you can use dried beans or lightly crumpled foil in the pans).
  7. Open the top, flat side of the oyster (the deeply curved shell should be on the bottom).
  8. Retain in each shell as much of the oyster liquor as possible; discard the top shell and free each oyster from its muscle.
  9. Transfer each oyster in its bottom shell to the salt-lined roasting pans.
  10. Arrange the oven racks to accommodate both roasting pans and preheat oven to 400°.
  11. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat; when the foam begins to subside, add the celery, fennel, scallions, garlic, parsley, watercress, thyme, and a large pinch of kosher salt; cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate ingredients.
  12. Take pan off heat and transfer mixture to a blender; to blender also add hot sauce, Pernod, a few grindings of pepper, and the bread crumbs.
  13. Puree the mixture for 2 minutes or until it is uniformly green in color and the texture of a thick milkshake; transfer mixture to a small bowl.
  14. Place 2 teaspoons puree mixture on top of each oyster if they are medium-size (a little more if they are larger, a little less if they are smaller).
  15. The mixture should almost, but not quite cover the meat of the oyster.
  16. Place the roasting pans with the oysters in the oven; cook about 20 minutes or until there is a lively bubbling at the edges of the oysters.
  17. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the pans 180° after 10 minutes (and if your roasting pans are on different levels, after 10 minutes carefully reverse the bottom and top pans to ensure even cooking).
  18. When the oysters are done, allow them to cool for 2 minutes, then, wearing rubber gloves or with the help of a large spoon, carefully transfer 6 oysters to each of the salt-line plates; garnish each with a lemon wedge and serve immediately.
  19. **Alternative cooking method: preheat broiler; place one pan under the broiler until the oysters are bubbling on top, about 3-5 minutes; repeat with the second pan; proceed as directed.

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