Oysters Rocafella
© John Kernick

Oysters Rocafella

  • SERVINGS: 4 first-course servings

"We created this dish as an homage to Jay-Z. He inspires us," says Mario Carbone about the rapper and cofounder of the Roc-A-Fella record label. "The original dish was named for John D. Rockefeller. He was money back then, and to us, Jay-Z is money in New York City now." Carbone tops the oysters with a tangy vinegar-shallot mignonette, plus a Champagne-infused foam and frozen Champagne grapes.

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  1. 2 teaspoons sugar
  2. 2 teaspoons water
  3. 1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
  4. 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
  7. 1 small shallot, minced
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. 2 dozen bluepoint or other East Coast oysters, shucked on the half shell
  10. Crushed ice and coarse salt, for serving
  11. 1 tablespoon dried egg-white powder (see Note)
  12. 1 to 2 bunches of Champagne grapes or small seedless red grapes, frozen until solid, halved if large
  1. In a microwave-safe cup, combine the sugar and water. Cook at high power for 20 seconds. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then let cool.
  2. In a small stainless steel bowl, combine the sugar syrup, Champagne and citrus juices. Set the bowl over a larger bowl of ice and keep cold. In another small bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot and season with pepper.
  3. Arrange the shucked oysters on a bed of crushed ice and coarse salt. Add the egg-white powder to the Champagne-citrus juice mixture and beat with a handheld mixer or immersion blender until thick and frothy.
  4. Spoon a little of the vinegar-shallot mixture over the oysters and a little of the Champagne froth on top. Garnish with the frozen Champagne grapes and serve right away.

Egg-white powder is available at health food stores and most supermarkets.

Suggested Pairing

Carbone and Torrisi pair Jay-Z's favorite Champagne, Armand de Brignac (a.k.a. Ace of Spades), with this dish. Domaine Chandon's NV Brut Classic is also terrific and much, much less expensive.