Saturday, February 19, 2011
When I was a little girl, we often had Christmas dinner with my Gran (Dad's mother.) One traditional dish in her home was "scalloped oysters." (recipe follows)
I don't know why, maybe they saved them for the grownups, but I only remember trying them once. I gather I didn't know what I was getting into, because there was this rubbery thing, tough and quite large in my mouth and I couldn't chew or swallow it and had to go get rid of it. Very embarrassing. Everyone was kind about it, though.
Until fairly recently, that was my only experience with oysters, and certainly didn't endear them to me. I have read, recently, in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, how very healthy oysters are for us, so wanted to find a way to get them into our diet. This is what I came up with:
Bacon Wrapped Oysters:
1 - 8 ounce can, fancy whole oysters
3 strips of bacon, cut in half
Open and drain the can of oysters. Be gentle. They are quite soft.
Divide them into 6 little piles on a plate.
Take 1/2 of a strip of bacon and wrap it around one of the piles of oysters. Do 5 more.
Secure with each one with a wooden toothpick as you go.
Place in an oven proof dish, and bake in a pre-heated 450F oven until the bacon is as crisp as you like. The time will depend on the thickness of the bacon.
Drain on a paper towel.
My Gran's Scalloped Oysters - this is an excerpt from a little cookbook she wrote:
"Some people used to add oysters to turkey dressing and I guess still do but this was frowned upon in our family and scalloped oysters were always served along with the turkey for holiday dinners. Scalloped oysters were always in the luxury class, even before the price of oysters skyrocketed several years ago. Really good ones demand cream and butter. Old-time experts covered the bottom of a 3 or 4 inch deep pan with cracker crumbs rolled medium fine. The oysters were laid on this bed at a discreet distance apart, depending on how many you want to use - not quite touching, up to an inch or so apart. Salt, pepper and plenty of small pieces of butter were added then another layer of crackers and repeat the oyster process. The experts never used more than two layers. Then the cream, mixed with what oyster liquor you have, was poured carefully and slowly over the pan, making incisions as you go so that the liquid will reach and moisten the bottom layer of crumbs. The mixture should be moist but never sloppy. I knew one fine cook who, at this point, took a fork and stirred the whole mass gently until she was sure there were no dry spots. The surface was then smoothed for the top layer of crubs which is seasoned with salt, pepper and butter dots and the pan was consigned to a 375F oven until browned - about 30 minutes." ~ from Turn of the Century Cooking by Marcia Ott.