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This recipe, a marriage of a recipe I learned while an apprentice to Nathalie Dupree and Meme’s version of traditional oyster dressing, is an excellent side dish for a Thanksgiving feast. The myth about buying oysters only in the months with an R is not quite true, but not completely false either. However, it is best to buy oysters during the fall and winter when they are at their prime.
Serves 4 to 6


• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the dish
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
• 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
• 1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 pints shucked oysters, drained (about 60 small oysters)
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup milk, warmed
• 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1 ounce)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• 1/2 cup fresh or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs

Place the oven rack 6 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Brush a gratin dish with butter.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oysters and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to low and cook until the oysters are firm, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir the flour and cook until foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir to combine.

Pour the cheese sauce over the oyster mixture and stir to combine. Add the parsley, paprika, and cayenne. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into the prepared gratin dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Broil until browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Recipe from BON APPÉTIT, Y’ALL
by Virginia Willis (Ten Speed Press, $32.50/HC, May 2008)


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