Oysters Rockefeller with Pimiento Cheese


John Ondo’s Lowcountry riff on classic Oysters Rockefeller includes bacon, pimiento cheese and collard greens, plus a topping of buttery toasted crackers.

Pimiento Cheese Oysters Rockefeller

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Shell Royster

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
12 servings
36 oysters

This recipe, a variation on classic Oysters Rockefeller, swaps out the usual pureed greens for finely chopped collards melted with pimiento cheese. The oysters are topped with fried buttery crackers, making them a perfect party appetizer.

Oysters Rockefeller was created at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans in the late 1890s; a shortage of snails used for escargot prompted the chefs to create a new seafood appetizer. The original dish consisted of pureed greens like watercress, aromatics, and a generous amount of butter. When Jules Acliatore took over the restaurant, he thought these oysters were so rich that he named them after the wealthiest person in the United States at the time, John D. Rockefeller. The dish became wildly popular; you can find it on menus all over.

This version was created by John Ondo, executive chef at The Atlantic Room at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. He uses bacon and an aromatic mixture of red onions, green bell pepper, and celery as the foundation for the filling and to give it crunch and texture. Wilted collard greens bulk out the filling and tossing them in pimiento cheese gives them a rich texture. You can make your own pimiento cheese but store-bought also works well here. Top the oysters with crunchy, buttery cracker crumbs topping and bake them off for a perfect appetizer or cocktail party snack.



  • 1/2 cup chopped bacon (from about 3 slices)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (from 1 bell pepper)

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (from 2 medium stalks)

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh collard greens (1 1/2 ounces)

  • 2 cups pimiento cheese (store-bought or homemade)

  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Oysters Rockefeller

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 sleeve round butter crackers (such as Ritz) crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • Rock salt (ice cream salt), as needed (see note)

  • 3 dozen Lowcountry oysters, shucked and heeled (separate oysters from back of shell)


Prepare the filling

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring often, until crispy and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve fat in skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add collard greens, and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add bacon and pimiento cheese, stirring until cheese is just melted, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat, and transfer cheese mixture to a medium bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cool Filling to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Filling may be made up to 1 day in advance.

Prepare the Oysters Rockefeller

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high until browned, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in cracker crumbs. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

  2. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Fill a rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rock salt. Spoon about 1 tablespoon Filling on top of each oyster; top with a heaping 1 teaspoon toasted cracker crumbs. Nestle oysters in salt on baking sheet. Bake oysters at 400°F until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Remove oysters from oven; top with additional cracker crumbs, if desired, and serve.


Place rock salt on bottom of the pan you use to bake oysters to keep oysters from falling over.

To make ahead

Filling may be made 1 day in advance.

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