Oyster Dressing

Southern dressings tend to have more wheat bread 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  middle South recipes as well as older recipes most often call for cornbread. I’ve found that my recipe, involving both, is typical of central Mississippi,. I implore you not to use green pepper in this recipe; I’m a devotee of the gentle bonhomie of Justin Wilson, who maintained that bell peppers are “taste-killers.”

Sauté two cups each diced white onion and celery in a stick butter on low heat until tender. Cook a pint of oysters with liquid in a half stick butter until oysters are beginning to curl. Combine three cups crumbled dry cornbread and three cups crumbled dry bread crumbs in a large bowl with a tablespoon dried thyme, a tablespoon dried basil, and a tablespoon ground sage. Add cooked onion, celery, and butter along with three eggs well-beaten. Mix well, adding enough water or stock if needed to make a thick slurry. It should be quite moist. Add oysters, blend well, and spoon into a lightly-buttered baking pan. Bake at 350 until center is firm, about forty-five minutes to an hour.