Creatively Transforming Food

Herbed Oyster Dressing

 

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One of my grandmother’s most memorable side dishes was her Herbed Oyster Dressing. I am her namesake and fortunately, I love to cook for my family as often as I can like she did! Although I was quite young when she became unable to cook, the memories are a perpetual inspiration to me. Her gravy, for one, I have been trying to master for years. I pray for divine intervention and it doesn’t come clearly through the distance from heaven. Oh, well ! It will come soon enough if I keep trying. It’s close, though.

My seat to her immediate right at the table, was always in front of  the oyster dressing. As a young child, I just didn’t see the value in eating it. Now that I’m older and have a greater appreciation for the wonders which come from living close to the water, I take full advantage of the local oysters from Chincoteague available at my favorite local produce market, How Sweet It Is, in Eden, Maryland. Soon, I will be heading down there to grab some local jumbo lump crab meat  so I can make some Hot and Spicy Chesapeake Crab Dip for our annual Christmas party. Let me just handle one holiday at a time.

My oldest brother John and I were communicating back and forth recently about our plans for Thanksgiving and the subject of Mom Mom’s Oyster dressing came up again. We have tried a few recipes, but were looking for one to use this year. Through my browsing on Pinterest, I came across one called Colonial Oyster Dressing. It made more than I knew would be eaten so I adjusted it for about half of the amount. Along with the ideas from this recipe and my preferred adjustments to the recipe for flavorings, this masterpiece was created. A couple of snapshots of the recipe were taken and sent via text along with a beautiful  pic of the outcome.  Mom Mom would be proud of my investment in time as well as the flavor. One bite was all I needed and I was back in time sitting at her dining room table during my unbeknownst subliminal internship.

A dense white bread was suggested in the recipe, so I chose Pepperidge Farm Hearty White Bread. We sliced off the crust of about a pound of bread slices, cut them into cubes and toasted them in the oven.

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Onions and celery were sautéed in a pan with an equal combination of  both extra virgin olive oil and butter until soft. Add the herbs to the  sautéed vegetables. Pour evenly to distribute them throughout the mixture before tossing them gently to coat the toasted bread cubes.

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Along with the chopped parsley, heavy cream and just enough Chicken broth, about 1/4 of a cup to slightly moisten bread cubes,  were added..  You don’t want them soggy. My grand-daughter, Emma,  gently tossed in the 1 cup of chopped oysters with their liquor. Spoon the fabulous dressing-to-be in a small serving dish to bake slowly, foil-covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for about an additional 10 minutes until golden in color. I couldn’t wait for the feast at the table to taste this, so my daughter-in-law, Lorelei (who is the best sous chef anywhere especially on a busy Thanksgiving cooking day), and I took a little taste-test of our own. In our mouths, it was perfection in one bite. Now, I am waiting for my brother to give me his thoughts on this Eastern Shore delicacy. I’m sure it would pass his test with an A+++ !

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Herbed Oyster Dr essing

2016-11-26
: 8
: Medium

An Eastern Shore traditional side dish for Thanksgiving we must have to make our meal complete. In trying to create it reminiscent of my grandmother's infamous dressing, my mouth melted with just one taste of these combination of flavors.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound dense white bread, crust removed, cubed and toasted (I used Pepperidge Farm Hearty White bread.)
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 c. yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped( or 1 t. dried)
  • 1 T. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped( or 1 t. dried)
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. Kosher salt
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1/2 c. freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley(or 2 1/2 t. dried)
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock, reduced sodium
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. chopped oysters with their liquor
Directions
  • Step 1 Remove crust from bread slices and cube them. Place on a foil-lined tray and bake about 20 minutes, tossing at the halfway point. They should be lightly toasted and slightly golden.
  • Step 2 Melt butter and olive oil together on medium-low heat.
  • Step 3 Saute the celery and onion for about 10 minutes until soft.
  • Step 4 Add thyme, sage, oregano, salt and pepper to the celery and onions. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the white wine into the mixture and cook until evaporated.
  • Step 6 Add this mixture to the bowl of bread cubes and toss gently to coat.
  • Step 7 Next, add freshly chopped parsley.
  • Step 8 Drizzle chicken stock and heavy cream over the mixture. Gently mix to evenly distribute throughout the bread cubes. They should be slightly moistened, not soggy.
  • Step 9 Finally, combine the chopped oysters with their liquor into the mixture.
  • Step 10 Spoon this into a prepared dish and cover with foil.
  • Step 11 Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Step 12 Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden in color and a tad crispy. You don’t want this dried out, so keep a watchful eye on this delicacy.
  • Step 13 Serve immediately.

 


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