Today I’m sharing a slightly modified version of my mother in law’s New Orleans Italian Oyster Dressing. A staple on the Broussard holiday table, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. A bit of New Orleans flair from our home to yours!
And as a bonus, I’ve incorporated the oyster shells into my table decor. So if you find yourself uninspired this year, join me for the dressing recipe and my fuss-free Thanksgiving tablescape ideas.
When Brian and I were first married, I learned very quickly that what is traditional in my family is not exactly traditional in his; and vice versa. Brian and I are both born and raised in Louisiana, however, Brian’s family is from New Orleans. You’d be surprised at just how much things vary from one part of the state to the other, especially when you’re factoring New Orleans into the equation.
There’s a version of my Aunt Polly’s rice dressing in my Picnics cookbook, and while we rarely go a holiday without some sort of rice dressing or these Twice Baked Sweet Potato Boats, in Brian’s family they are serving up a different type of dressing.
Oyster Dressing to be exact.
In my article for inRegister magazine, I called the holidays (and marriage in general) full of “culinary compromises”. Just because my family partakes in rice dressing shouldn’t mean that I don’t open myself to the traditions and flavors that accompany my husband’s family table. Even if it means reaching outside of my comfort zone and baking with oysters.
- 2 large onions, minced
- 7 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 quart oysters (liquid reserved), chopped
- 2 cups Italian flavored bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly golden brown; add the oysters and cook until the edges curl. Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs, 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and the reserved oyster liquid. Mix well. The mixture should be a very moist consistency, similar to stuffing. If it’s too dry, add a bit of water to the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Let’s establish right off the bat that I’m no fan of oysters. It’s the texture that gets me. The slippery slimy little things just don’t do anything for me. To make the recipe work for me, I’ve chopped the oysters up so small that the flavor remains but the texture doesn’t bother me. Just blends right on into the bread crumbs. I’m convinced that the additional parmesan cheese also keeps me tiptoe into world of oyster dressing on the holiday dinner table.
And I’m also convinced that you, too, can enjoy this New Orleans Italian Oyster Dressing even if you don’t particularly care for oysters.