Oyster Dressing

Cooking with Cusimano
The Gazette

My mother was French and my father Italian, thus I inherited oyster dressing recipes from each side of the family, which I have combined for my own version.

French Recipe (Mama Rose)

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 lbs gizzards
  • Turkey liver
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bunch shallots
  • 3 – 4 stalks celery
  • 1 head garlic
  • 7 slices white bread or 1/2 loaf French bread or 1 1/2 – 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 4 dozen oysters

Italian Recipe (Aunt “Phene”)

  • Small bunch parsley
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 1 bunch shallots (only 3 – 4 tails)
  • 2 – 3 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 9 toes garlic (large)
  • 4 turkey legs or necks
  • Pack from Turkey (not liver and heart)
  • 7 dozen oysters
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbls Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1/4 lb margarine

Joe’s Recipe

  • 3 Turkey Packs (Livers, hearts, gizzards & necks)
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch shallots (green onions)
  • 1 head garlic
  • Parsley
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 3 Tbls grated parmesan
  • 6 – 7 dozen oysters
  • 3 eggs

Chop onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, parsley and shallots fine. Boil turkey necks, gizzards, hearts and livers until tender, drain, saving broth, pull meat off neck bone, chopping all meats fine.

Chop oysters, if small in half, if large in quarters, saving water.

If using French bread or sliced bread, soak broken up bread in oyster water and turkey broth, if using bread crumbs, save oyster water and turkey broth for later use.

Cover bottom of a 5 quart pot with olive oil, sauté onions until tender, add ground meats and brown, adding salt and pepper to taste; add turkey meat, gizzards, liver, heart, mixing all ingredients. Add garlic, shallots, celery, bell peppers, parsley, mixing well. Add oysters and cook until oysters curl, then let simmer. Add soaked bread or add 2 cups of bread crumbs mixing well, and add oyster water to keep moist. If additional moisture is needed, add turkey broth. You want the dressing to be like a lumpy paste. Add three eggs beaten or whisked and butter, simmer, mix in cheese, turn heat off.

You can stuff your turkey with this dressing before you bake the turkey, put the remainder of dressing in a casserole pan, sprinkle grated cheese on top, and heat before serving.

Bon Appetite’

Joe Cusimano is a private attorney in Farmerville who serves as town attorney for Bernice and Farmerville. The New Orleans area native also likes to cook.

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