Chef Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse in Pensacola, FL believes in the beauty of local flavors. He’s been working in the Florida Panhandle and writing about the foods of the Gulf Coast for more than three decades. Adding oysters to Thanksgiving stuffing is a practice with a long history in the South, especially along the coast. In his simple take, raw oysters and chorizo sausage add a wonderful spicy flavor with a subtle underlying brininess to this dressing.
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400°F.In a medium-size bowl add cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lightly beaten eggs, and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir briefly to combine.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Swirl the skillet around so that the oil completely coats all parts of the pan; bottom and sides. Reheat the oiled skillet to medium heat. Pour in the corn bread batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top is light brown. Remove the corn bread and allow cooling to room temperature.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 corn bread recipe (from above)
- 24 freshly shucked Gulf coast oysters in their liquor or
- 1 pint freshly shucked Gulf coast oysters
- 12 ounces ground chorizo sausage
- 1 cup small-chopped yellow onions
- 1 cup small-chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup small-chopped green peppers
- 1 cup small-chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons small-chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup oyster liquor
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.Coat the inside of a 9” x 12” x 2” casseroledish with oil. Place corn bread in a food processor with a cutting blade; grind fine, and then transfer crumbs to a large bowl.
Shuck or strain the oysters and reserve the liquor. Place a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground sausage and break up to cook, about 5 minutes. Add yellow onions, green onions, green pepper, celery, garlic, parsley and thyme. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add corn bread crumbs. Empty the contents of the skillet into an extra-large bowl for tossing.
In a medium-size bowl combine eggs, oyster liquor, salt and pepper. Blend well using a whisk. Pour the egg mixture over the corn bread mixture, Add the oysters and gently combine everything together with your fingers, and then form gently into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake covered for 25 minutes.
I like baking the dressing just before serving the meal (the oysters remain plump and are best served that way). Uncover and serve right away.
Note:If you can’t find ground chorizo, remove the casing from link chorizo, place in a food processor, and pulse to grind fine.
Note:For extra-moist dressing, pour any remaining oyster liquor into a small saucepot. Bring to a boil and spoon over dressing just before serving.
Recipe by Chef Irv Miller, Jackson’s Steakhouse, Pensacola, FL
From acclaimed chef Irv Miller, Gulf Coast Oysters is a beautifully photographed and joyful exploration of the Gulf oyster culture. Replete with mouth-watering recipes that honor the many oyster classics of the Gulf foodways, Gulf Coast Oysters also celebrates the renaissance of the region by putting a fresh, modern, and delicious spin on preparing these “panhandle pearls” for oyster lovers everywhere.