November 30, 2007

An Oysters & Champagne Kind of Thanksgiving

About the only thing that really makes me giddy around the holidays is drinking champagne. I love it. I simply cannot be depressed with a glass of bubbly in my hand...the slighly sweet nectar that tickles my nose, sipped from a delicately long-stemmed flute. Pure joy.

So, in an act of indulgence, I bought oysters and champagne for lunch on Thanksgiving. My friend shucked a couple dozen, which we ate with a mignonette sauce I made...champagne vinegar with finely chopped shallots, lemon zest, salt & pepper. It was absolutely delicious. We even mixed the leftover sauce with olive oil to use as the salad dressing.

Then, with our turkey dinner, I made a baked oysters in lieu of the planned oyster dressing...a rich butter-and-cream laden casserole that is perfect for a holiday meal. This turned out to be everyone's favorite.

Scalloped Oysters
(adapted from Paula Deen's recipe)

1 pint of shucked oysters in their liquor
2 cups coarsely crushed crackers *
1 cup dried bread crumbs, Italian style
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together crackers, bread crumbs, and melted butter. Place half of the crumb mixture in the bottom of a buttered 9x9 casserole (or similar size).

Cover it with the oysters & their liquor, arranging the oysters in a single layer.

Season the cream with nutmeg, salt, pepper. Pour it over the oysters.

Mix the remaining crumbs with the fresh parsely & lemon thyme. Sprinkle on top of the oysters.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

* Paula Deen uses saltine crackers. I used all of my random last-of-the-box crackers, a combination of butter, wheat, sesame, & water. Any crackers would work, I'm guessing.

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