Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have tried a new stuffing recipe (or two or three) at Thanksgiving. Always on the search for that perfect one — moist, easy and packed with flavor — I kept coming up empty. Until last year.
Emeril Lagasse was making an appearance on Martha Stewart’s daytime talk show and made a Baked Oyster Dressing that instantly had me drooling. No lie. Last year was the first time I made it, and it was the dressing/stuffing recipe to finally end the search. Don’t worry if you don’t like oysters — it tastes just as good without them. My parents are big fans of oysters, so when I made it for last year’s Thanksgiving table, I just skipped them, and it was just as flavorful and delicious — so much so that it was hard to stop sneaking little bits from the dish before it made it to the table, and I ended up making it two times in one week. Just like this coming week. Once tomorrow, and again for Thursday. It’s that good. Dig in!
Baked Oyster Dressing
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse’s Real and Rustic
Serves 4 to 6
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 cups shucked oysters, including their liquor
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon Emeril’s Original Essence (see recipe below)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon very finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped scallions
4 cups 1-inch cubes French bread
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-11-inch baking dish and set aside. Drain oysters, reserving liquor; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, Emeril’s Essence, and cayenne; cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, garlic, and parsley; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with oysters and their liquor, scallions, bread, and cheese. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Makes 2/3 cup
2-1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.