Foods | Cooking
Hints & Tips
What's not to love about a dressing that
includes fresh oysters? Oyster Dressing can often be one of the best parts of a Thanksgiving dinner.
Remember - This
oyster dressing must be served as a side dish and not as a turkey
stuffing in the turkey.
More of Linda's great
Oyster Recipes and also check out
How To Shuck Oysters.
Please check out my
Thanksgiving Turkey dinner menu which includes Grandma's Oyster Dressing.
This recipe was shared with me by Doc Lawrence and his
Sips Across America columns. This recipe is by Chef Josh Butler.
Chef Josh Butler is Executive Chef at the Florida Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
History of Oyster Dressing:
Oyster dressing is a favorite of New
Englanders that dates back to the 18th century in America as oysters
were predominantly found along the eastern coast of North America.
Oysters had been used with or without bread crumbs for stuffing
poultry or fish over 335 years. The tradition of oyster
dressing was brought over from British colonists that settled in
America. In Britain, oysters were added to stuffing that was
more traditionally used in fowl (chicken), fish, calves he ad, leg
of mutton, hares (rabbit) and pigs. Oysters used to be more
plentiful and the most commonly eaten shellfish in America.
They were cheap and plentiful enough for the working class to
afford. Many early American cooks stuffed their turkeys and
chicken with oysters since it was an inexpensive source of protein.
Turkeys were very expensive and adding the oysters helped ensure
there was enough protein to feed a large group. As the express
wagons and railroads made it more possible to transport goods in the
mid-19th century, the oyster market was able to expand and set off a
national oyster addiction. Fresh, raw oysters were commonly
served in taverns as oysters were a cheap food to serve with beer
and liquor. By 1850, every major town in America had an Oyster
saloon also known as oyster bars, oyster house or raw bar.
1685 - Earliest cookbook reference: The Accomplisht Cook,
London, Sauce with Oysters and Bacon, The oysters were cooked
and mixed with spices and herbs stuffed in the pullets belly and
1796 - American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, Meats - To smother
a Fowl in Oysters: “Gill the bird with dry oysters, and sew up and
boil in water just sufficient to cover the bird, salt and season to
your taste – when done tender, put it into a deep dish and pour over
it a pint of stewed oysters, well buttered and peppered, garnish a
turkey with sprigs of parsley or leaves of celery: a fowl is best
with a parsley sauce
1832 - The Cook’s Own Book: Being A Complete Culinary
Encyclopedia, by A Boston Housekeeper. Chicken Stuffing recipe
- “Fill your chickens with young oysters cut small, truffles,
parsley and spices and roast them.”
1880 - Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide by
Maria Parloa – Boiled Turkey - “Chop half a head of celery very
fine. Mix with it one quart of bread crumbs, two scant
table-spoonfuls of salt, half a teaspoonful of pepper, two heaping
table-spoonfuls of butter and two eggs. Stuff the turkey with
this; sew up and truss. The stuffing may be made the same as
above, only substitute oysters for celery, and serve with oyster
The Washington Post, Food Section - A Short Course On the
History of 8 Thanksgiving Foods, by Amanda Moniz, November 22,
New England Recipes, Oyster
Wikipedia, Oyster bar.
Oysters: A Culinary Celebration, by Joan Reardon, 2004,
Guilford, Conn, Lyons Press.
Historic Columbus Taverns: The Capital City’s Most Storied
Saloons by Tom Betti and Doreen Uhas Sauer, 2012, Charleston,
SC, History Press
Grandma's Oyster Dressing - How To Make Oyster Dressing Recipe:
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 cups crumbled
Cornbread (either homemade or store bought)
bread crumbs, small dice*
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly-ground
pepper to taste
eggs lightly beaten
1 pint shucked fresh (live) oysters, drained (reserve 1/2 cup oyster liquid)**
* Check out
Making Homemade Bread Crumbs
Lean How To Shuck Oysters
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter a large rectangular baking pan.
Heat 2 tablespoons of
the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté onions and
celery in the butter until tender; remove from heat an add a small pinch
of cayenne and let cool.
Combine cornbread and
breadcrumbs in a large bowl; gently fold in sautéed onions, salt,
pepper, and parsley.
Add beaten eggs and
toss more; moisten with the reserved oyster liquid until moist but not
soggy. Gently stir in the oysters.
Pat the mixture into
the prepared baking pan (it should make a 1-inch layer in the pan). Dot
with remaining butter and bake about 45 minutes, until golden brown and
set in the center.
You Might Also Like:
Creamed Oysters in Acorn Squash
This outstanding dish combines two of my favorite foods, oysters and acorn squash. Besides being delicious, it is
beautiful to look at.
This is an excellent oyster dish to serve your family or friends.
Oyster lover's delight! A very easy recipe to prepare and always a favorite with my husband.
Scalloped oysters are fantastic served as a special side dish, first course, or appetizer with crackers. For many families, this dish is a Christmas tradition.