Bourbon Bacon Oysters Rockefeller
Invented at Antoine’s in 1889 by chef Jules Alciatore in response to a shortage of escargot in New Orleans, Oysters Rockefeller have since become a classic American dish. Riffing on tradition — and building on the richness alluded to in its name — New York City pizza-maker Thomas DeGrezia reimagined it with bourbon-coated bacon in a version that’s smoky, sweet and salty.
Historically, Oysters Rockefeller come topped with spinach, shallots, butter, breadcrumbs and a splash of anise-flavored liqueur (Pernod, Herbsaint, or something similar). DeGrezia, owner of Sofia Wine Bar and the chef behind New York’s somewhat famous $38 pizza, brought us an even more decadent version of the traditional recipe. Here, he forgoes the greens for bacon, swaps Pernod for bourbon, and uses Japanese panko — light, dry, flaky, and made from crustless white bread — instead of seasoned bread crumbs.
Baked in a cast-iron pan in an Ooni oven firing at top temps, these oysters cook up quickly. With a flavor profile that skews a little sweeter and unctuous than the traditional, these oysters make for a great date night meal.
Need something for dessert? Try Tommy’s Cocoa Pizza Dough.
Medium (must be able to shuck oysters)
56 grams unsalted butter
30 grams panko bread crumbs
20 grams Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
9 grams parsley, finely chopped
2 grams fine sea salt
pinch of black pepper, freshly ground
2 cloves garlic, crushed
55 grams bourbon
85 grams maple syrup
2 slices streaky or uncured bacon
1 dozen oysters, shucked
Rock salt, for presentation and stability (optional)
1 lemon, quartered and seeded
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 500˚C on the baking stone inside. You can check the temperature inside your oven quickly and easily using an infrared thermometer.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat, taking care not to let it brown. Mix the panko, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.
Pour the bread crumb mixture into the melted butter and coat well over medium heat. Stir continuously until the mixture browns slightly, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Mix the bourbon and maple syrup in a bowl and stir thoroughly to combine. Dip the two slices of bacon one at a time in the mixture and turn until completely coated. Wipe the saucepan clean and cook the bacon over medium heat for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 4 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, then cut each slice into 12 bite-sized pieces.
Shuck the oysters, reserving the deeper shells and the oyster liquor if you can. Add whatever liquor you save to the bread crumb mixture. Carefully separate the oysters from their shells and remove any small pieces of shell or grit.
On a cutting board, slice each oyster into thirds and replace the pieces into the reserved shells. Top each shell with 1 tablespoon of the bread crumb mixture and 2 pieces of bacon.
If using rock salt, sprinkle it generously in the cast-iron skillet, then gently arrange the oysters inside. Place the skillet in the oven for 30 seconds. Turn the skillet and cook for another 30 seconds, then remove from the oven to a heat-safe surface.
Squeeze the fresh lemon over the oysters and serve.