P&J's Oysters Rockefeller Bisque


Al Sunseri won the Times-Picayune's famous annual recipe contest with this salute to P&J Oysters. Since this magnificent soup is very rich, it may also be served in demitasse cups, doubling the number of servings.


  • 1/2 gallon plus 1 quart shucked fresh oysters
  • the juices (liquor) from the oysters
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 5 stalks finely chopped celery
  • 4 (10-ounce) packages thawed frozen spinach,squeezed dry and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Chef Paul's Seafood Magic
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1 quart half and half
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup freshly grated
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup Herbsaint or Pernod
  • anisette liqueur
  • salt to taste

YIELD: 30 servings

Strain the oyster liquor into a bowl to remove grit. Set both the liquor and the oysters themselves aside.

Set aside 1/2 cup of green onions for garnish.

In a large, heavy Dutch oven or cast-iron pot, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter is hot, add the celery, lettuce, garlic, green onion, cayenne and Chef Paul's Seafood Magic and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 24 of the oysters to the sautéed ingredients and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the oysters and seasonings to a 2-gallon stockpot. Add the milk, half and half and oyster liquor. Pour the mixture in batches into a blender, filling it halfway and blend throughly. Return each batch to the stockpot.

When all of the mixture has been blended, stir the anisette liqueur, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice into the stockpot. Add all of the remaining oysters and heat over a low flame, stirring occasionally until the oysters are plump and their edges just begin to curl. Add salt to taste.

For a thinner soup, stir in more milk until the desired consistency is achieved. Garnish with green onions. Ladle into bowls or cups and serve. The amount of ingredients can be reduced incrementally to produce less bisque.

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