Oyster Casserole- needs recipe suggestions
Every Thanksgiving my Mom has made a oyster casserole, overtime the original recipe has been forgotten and so it now consists of cream of mushroom soup (yuck!), crackers, butter and oysters. Well needless to say it's not that good. So this year I've suggested changing it. I've found 2 recipes, one in Joy of Cooking and one on Epicurious. Both of them basically use butter, milk, eggs, bread crumbs or crackers, I presume to form some sort of a custard. This sounds fairly good to me but I don't want to be the one that screws up perfectly good oysters, so I would like any suggestions. Only requirements is that it doesn't contain a bunch of veggies. Like crab cakes, I want it simple so you taste the oysters.
Years ago I wanted a scalloped oyster recipe and I had just been married and got a Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I said to myself who would know better than a woman from Boston? I don't use saltines or the stale bread, I just use good old artery clogging Ritz crackers. Fanny said never use more than two layers of oysters because a 3rd layer doesn't cook well. I add the dash of Tabasco and the dash of nutmeg and all I have to say is that I never have the nerve to make it but once a year because it's all I want at the whole meal. It's a drug to me.
I pint of fresh oysters...1.5 cups of crushed Ritz crackers, tossed in 1/2 cup of melted butter (use 1/2 cup for each layer in the recipe)...reserve 4 TBS of oyster liquor and combined with 2 TBS cream and the dashes of nutmeg, and Tabasco. Put a thin layer of crumbs on the bottom of a buttered baking dish that is about 8 inches square. Put on 1/2 the oysters Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on 1/2 the liquor mixture. Repeat, and top with remaining crumbs.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375F.
Ever gone to Sam's and bought the " extra small" Willapoint Oysters? They are the size of dinner plates and so delicious. I have to cut them up for this recipe but I smile every time I use these extra smalls. Enjoy, I surely do.
OYSTERS "JOHNNY REB" From the Old Southern Tea Room Vicksburg Mississippi.
2 Qts oysters drained
1/2 Cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 Cup finely chopped shallots or green onions
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
2 Cups fine Cracker (Saltine) Crumbs
3/4 Cup Cream (Half & Half Ok)
You will need to layer 1/2 of the oysters in the bottom of a buttered casserole..Sprinkle with 1/2 of the parsley, shallot/onion, seasonings, lemon juice butter and cracker crumbs etc. Then repeat with another layer of oysters and seasonings on top. Sprinkler with paprika.... Just prior to baking pour a little of the cream into evenly spaced openings. Bake for 30 minutes at 375* until it firms up a bit....Makes a bunch...Ya might wanna half it....The recipe goes back into the 1940's...A favorite at Uncle Bob's house during Oyster season.....
re: Uncle Bob
My Aunt says we have been eating since my great-grandmother discovered it!
1-1/2 to 2 pints Oysters (drained & rinsed)
[we get them in plastic containers in the deli section of the grocery store]
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onions
1-1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 30) - can add more if needed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups milk
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
Mix all together in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes
I do it with butter, garlic, parsley or cilantro, sliced artichocke heart, sliced water chestnuts, sometimes bacon, and wild rice with some breadcrumbs to tie it together but not to overwhelm it. Oyster likker is key. As to proportions, I cannot say..it's all eyeballing it. Try not to get it soupy and, of course, avoid the super-ball oysters you get from overcooking.
The mushroom soup versions may be horrid but it is a fond memory....
Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will go with the cracker, butter and maybe some cream. i like the idea of green onions and parsley, it would add a little freshness. I found a recipe that calls for red pepper, mushrooms and onions and that doesn't sound good to me, I don't like all those veggies in my crab cakes either (and I'm a huge veggie eater).
Sometimes it just better to keep it simple!
I make something similar each year for the holidays, but my husband and I are usually the only ones that eat it. Of course, I can't help it if his family can't see the goodness that is oysters! More for us!
Ritz crackers, smashed up
For some color I have added in both chopped fresh parsley and some green onion tops. A few bits of chopped scallion might be nice and not too overpowering.
There is no real measurement, and for good measure I do melt the butter a bit so the mixing is easier. You want it soggy but not too soggy. I bake it at about 350 degrees until the top is browned nicely.
The version with the soup just sounds horrid to me!
That's classic scalloped oysters, except for the Ritz crackers (recipe typically calls for saltines). According to Fannie Farmer (and this is from memory, since I do it every year) you use a dish just large enough to hold two layers of however many oysters you have - I use a deep pie-plate for two pints. Butter the plate, put down a layer of crumbs, then oysters, salt & pepper, more crumbs, more oysters, S&P, more crumbs. Dot generously with butter. Distribute strained juice from the oysters over all evenly, then enough half-and-half to come not quite to the top. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 35-40 minutes; let sit (keep warm) at least half an hour before serving. Tell your niece that No, she doesn't have to eat any - more for the rest of us.
Mushroom soup I'd save for next week's tuna-noodle casserole.
re: Will Owen
We have tried making it with the saltines, but found it to be lacking in flavor and a touch more salty than the Ritz. I might try the layering thing this year and see how that turns out. I've got the perfect round casserole dish that I think would work perfectly! Every year we tend to do something a little different with the oysters...some years it was great, other years it was a lesson learned :) So far the green onions, parsley, and some scallions have worked out nicely and added a nice depth to the dish. Other veggies, not so much, and regular onions tend to bring too strong of a flavor.