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Bill Neal's Oyster Pie



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"If you don't love life you can't enjoy an oyster; there is a shock of freshness
to it and intimations of the ages of man, some piercing intuition of the sea
and all its weeds and breezes.  [They] shiver you for a split second."
~ Eleanor Clark

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Oyster Pie

Bill Neal's
Southern Cooking

William F. Neal, 1985,
The University of North Carolina Press

Yields 4 to 6 servings

3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups sliced scallions
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 slices fresh white bread
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups fresh, shucked oysters
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh, coarsely grated bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
Butter for greasing the baking dish

 Recommended equipment: A 10-inch cast-iron skillet or
enameled cast-iron sauté pan, baking dish, colander

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet or sauté pan over medium-
high heat and sauté the mushrooms well, until lightly browned. Sprinkle
with the lemon juice; add the scallions and garlic, cooking until just wilted.
Add the seasonings: parsley, salt, cayenne and nutmeg.
Preheat oven broiler. Trim away the crusts from the bread and brush
the bread lightly with the melted butter and toast each side until golden.
Grease the baking dish and turn oven heat to 425 degrees F.
Put six slices of the toast in the baking dish. Drain the oysters in the
colander and cover the toast evenly with them. Grind a generous amount
of pepper over the shellfish. Spoon one-half of the mushroom mixture
over the oysters and pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over all. Top with
six more slices of toast, spoon on the remaining mushrooms, and pour
the remaining cream over the entire casserole. Sprinkle the top with the
bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake on the bottom level of the pre-
heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cream bubbles and the top
browns. Serve as the main feature of an informal luncheon or supper.
A watercress salad would be a tasty accompaniment.

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