Saveur (November 2012)
One thing we love about Thanksgiving issues of food magazines are the regional features you often see. You know what we mean: "Thanksgiving Comes to Napa," or "A Southwest Celebration of Thanks," or "A Traditional Pan-Asian Hawaiian Turkey Feast By Way Of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan." Those features.
This year, our favorite was Saveur's lovely spread about celebrating Thanksgiving on the Chesapeake Bay. We highly recommend you take time to read the first-person narrative by historian Bernard Herman. Maybe it's because we're Chesapeake-adjacent ourselves, but we were really enamored by that feature. We want to go live inside that Thanksgiving.
And it was that Chesapeake feature that convinced us to try a new take on oyster dressing.
This ain't our first time at the Oyster Dressing rodeo.
Back in 2009, we made our first Oyster Dressing using a recipe from the final issue of Gourmet (everyone take a deep breath and think happy thoughts). We were surprised to find that we loved it. We wouldn't want it to be the only dressing or stuffing at our Thanksgiving table, but hey, why only have just one?
Anyway, this dressing. In addition to the titular oysters, there's the hominy. Does anyone still eat hominy? Clay's mom served it frequently during his childhood, stewed with a bit of butter. Zach's grandmother served it occasionally, as well. Honestly, we haven't given it much thought over the past few years. But we were excited to see it pop up in this dressing.
The oysters end up being the problem for us here. First, there's the matter of cost. We spent around $30 on oysters for this dish. We bought them from Whole Foods, in a jar. Given our shopping schedule and the options available, it seemed like our only choice. That's a lot to spend on a stuffing ingredient -- and it's almost as much as we spent on our turkey.
But we plunged ahead.
This dish is very -- hear us: very -- oystery. It's the predominant flavor, by far. For some of you, that may sound like heaven. For some of our Fakesgiving guests, it was. Some even said it was their favorite of the dishes. Others, like us, felt that the oysters stood out too much on their own, not meshing with other flavors on the plate.
Only oyster super-fans need to make this dish. If you count yourself in that group, we think you'll love it.
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3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 lb. ground sage-flavored breakfast sausage
3 cups shucked oysters, roughly chopped
2 cups ¾"-cubed country bread
3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped sage
1 29-oz. can hominy, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
Make the stuffing: Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat; add onion; cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add sausage; cook, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in oysters, bread, parsley, sage, and hominy; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9" x 13" baking dish, and dot with butter; chill until ready to bake
Heat oven to 450°. Place stuffing in oven; bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.