Established in 1840, Antoine’s is considered America’s oldest family-run restaurant and the original Oyster Rockefeller recipe is said to be one of the most sought-after recipes in the world. The original recipe is a closely-guarded Antoine’s secret, though it has been imitated,adapted, and evolved in a host of ways. The original oysters Rockefeller is said to have been made with watercress, not spinach.
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, reserving the oyster liquor.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add spinach, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Herbsaint, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Press the spinach mixture through a sieve or food mill; let cool. Mixture may be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.
Preheat oven broiler. Line an ovenproof plate or platter with a layer of rock salt about 1-inch deep (moisten the salt very slightly). Set oysters in the rock salt, making sure they are level.
Place a little of the reserved oyster liquor on each oyster. Spoon an equal amount of the prepared spinach mixture over each oyster and spread to the rim of the shell.
Broil approximately 5 minutes or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping is bubbling. Watch carefully.
Garnish the plates or platter with the parsley sprigs and the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
It is best to use small oyster for this recipe. The oysters themselves (not the shells) should be no more than 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Any variety of oysters will work; just make sure the oysters you choose are as fresh as possible, still alive, and tightly closed.