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National Oysters Rockefeller Day

Oysters Rockefeller is celebrated and enjoyed today on National Oysters Rockefeller Day, a holiday created by Antoine's Restaurant, the same restaurant that created the dish. They have celebrated by offering discounts on the dish and even giving it out for free. Antoine's has been a staple of the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans—and has been in the same family—since it was founded by Antoine Alciatore in 1840. In 1889, Jules Alciatore, Antoine's son, came up with a recipe for oysters in a half shell with a buttery sauce and bread crumbs, which became known as Oysters Rockefeller. It was given its name—a reference to John D. Rockefeller—because of its richness. Jules Alciatore said: "...I know of no other name rich enough for their richness." Alciatore got the idea to use oysters, which were found locally because there was a shortage of snails from Europe at the time.

Oysters Rockefeller became an iconic dish, and similar dishes are served elsewhere by restaurants trying to replicate it. It has become an appetizer in the United States and a brunch item in the South. But the original Oysters Rockefeller can only be found at Antoine's, and the specifics of the recipe are safeguarded by the Alciatore family. It is topped with several puréed vegetables that may include spinach, though the restaurant denies spinach is used. According to lab analysis from the 1980s, the puréed ingredients include parsley, celery, chives or scallions, capers, and olive oil. By 2023, Antoine's had served over 4 million orders of Oysters Rockefeller, and they number each order they serve.

How to Observe National Oysters Rockefeller Day

Celebrate by enjoying Oysters Rockefeller at Antoine's! You could snap a photo of your food and the numbered card that comes with it and post it on social media with the hashtag #NationalOystersRockefellerDay. If you can't get to Antoine's, see if you can find a version of Oysters Rockefeller at a restaurant near you or at a place known for making it. You could also try to make your own!

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