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Recipe: Oyster dressing, Jeremiah Tower style

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Jeremiah Tower’s oyster dressing. Photo: Kit Wohl

Legendary chef Jeremiah Tower (and expat living in Merida) was on New Orleans television recently to demonstrate a timely recipe.

Tower joined Kit Wohl on WWL-TV’s Eyewitness Morning News for her Cookbook Studio segment. Oyster Dressing, Tower style, became one of the station’s most requested recipes. It is especially popular around the holidays.

Tower is a celebrity chef who, along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, has been credited with pioneering California cuisine. Cince 2005, Kit Wohl has authored fifteen books that celebrate cuisine and her native New Orleans. Together, they authored the book, Flavors of Taste.

Stuffing is cooked and served inside something like a chicken or turkey, and dressing is cooked and served as a side dish or on top of something. So dressing is safer to eat. Oysters are baked or broiled in their shells.

Dressing continues to be the one most often served for a New Orleans holiday feast. This recipe calls for store-bought Italian bread crumbs, but the dish can take almost any variation you want to throw at it – use stale white bread, leftover cornbread, and add hot sauce if you want a bit of a kick.

P&J’s Oyster Dressing
10 to 12 servings

  • 1/2 gallon shucked oysters
  • strained oyster liquor
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, fine chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, fine chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, fine chopped
  • 3 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Strain the oyster liquor to remove grit. Set aside. It’s pure gold and important to the overall flavor of the dressing.

In large heavy bottomed skillet, melt butter over a low heat. Sauté minced garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add oysters and oyster liquor. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the oysters plump and edges begin to curl.

In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, oysters, and the sautéed garlic and trinity mixture. Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, olive oil and zest of one lemon with juice of one lemon.

Taste for seasoning and adjust. Place mixture in a large casserole dish and bake until golden brown and heated throughout, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Squeeze the juice of the last lemon on top of the casserole before serving.

The amount of ingredients can be reduced incrementally to produce a smaller quantity.

Courtesy Kit Wohl’s Cookbook Studio and her P&J Oyster Cookbook (2009, Pelican Publishing.) 

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