In the South Carolina low country where John Martin Taylor grew up, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without an oyster "pie": what everyone else calls scalloped oysters. To make sure the oysters remain plump and juicy, wait until the last moment to prepare it, and serve it right out of the oven.
When this rich dish is served by itself, Taylor likes to pair it with a light wine, such as an estate-bottled Muscadet aged sur lie or pinot blanc.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 quart shucked oysters, plus their liquor
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half or milk
- 4 ounces (1 sleeve of a 4-pack, 1-pound box) saltine crackers, crushed (2 cups)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch ground mace
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have an 8-inch-square or deep-dish pie plate at hand.
Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor in a large liquid measuring cup. Add the cream, half-and-half or milk to the oyster liquor to yield a total of 1 1/2 cups.
Combine the cracker crumbs, black pepper to taste and the mace in a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir to coat and combine evenly.
Use a third of the crumb mixture to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with the drained oysters. Top the oysters with half of the remaining crumb mixture, spreading it evenly. Pour the oyster liquor mixture evenly over the second layer of crumbs, then cover evenly with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown on top.
From John Martin Taylor's "The New Southern Cook" (Bantam, 1997).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.