Oyster Dressing

Southern dressings tend to employ more wheat the closer you get to the Gulf Coast, and oyster dressings are no exception.

Most Louisiana recipes call solely for a stale French loaf of some kind, but  Mid-South recipes–as well as older ones, since wheat breads are new to the inland South–most call for cornbread. This recipe, involving both, is typical of central Mississippi.

(A note: do not use green pepper in this recipe; I’m a devotee of the gentle bonhomie wisdom of Justin Wilson, who maintained that bell peppers are “taste-killers.”

Sauté two cups each diced white onion and celery in a stick butter until tender. Bring to heat a pint of oysters with liquid in a half stick butter until oysters are beginning to curl. Combine three cups crumbled cornbread and three cups crumbled bread crumbs in a large bowl with a tablespoon dried thyme, a tablespoon dried basil, and a tablespoon rubbed sage.

Add cooked onion, celery, and butter along with three well-beaten eggs. Mix well while adding enough stock to make a thick slurry. Add oysters, blend well, and spoon into a lightly-buttered baking pan. Bake at 350 until center is firm, about an hour.

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