The City Magazine Since 1975

Oyster Dressing

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1 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
2½ cups finely chopped onion
1¼ cups finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrot
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
1½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 pint oysters, liquor drained and reserved
2¼ cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage
1½ Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
6 cups crumbled Glass Onion Corn Bread, made at least one day in advance and left at room temperature

For the Corn Bread:
2 Tbs. bacon fat or unsalted butter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a nine- by 13-inch baking dish with the butter. Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about five minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Add 1/2-teaspoon salt and 1/2-teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and all the liquid they have released has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to large bowl, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely cool. Once cool, add the crumbled corn bread and stir to combine.

Combine the oyster liquor with enough chicken stock to make a total of 2½ cups. Place this, the heavy cream, eggs, sage, thyme, the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the remaining teaspoon of pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add this mixture to the corn bread-vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add the oysters and gently incorporate. Put in the prepared baking dish and bake until firm, about 1½ hours.

For the Corn Bread:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Grease a nine- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet with the bacon fat or butter. Heat the skillet in the oven while you make the batter. (Alternatively, you can use a nine-inch square baking pan, in which case, grease the pan with butter but do not heat it in the oven.)

Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, butter, and buttermilk together in another large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Remove the skillet from the oven, pour the batter into it, and bake for about one hour, or until the dressing is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.