Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oysters Rockefeller Casserole, with a side of Pilates.

Someone, sometime in the last few weeks asked for this recipe, and today is as good a day as any to share it. There is nothing exciting happening at the Bensrib house, for which I am very thankful. After last week's festivities and the epic pulling-of-the-pump, we could use a little downtime. This week we are back to work and school and complaining about the incessant rain and the full moon that wakes us up like a SWAT team's spotlight in the window.

Yesterday was my first Pilates class in over a week, and today I am feeling the effects. A BOSU pro, I am not. And as if just standing on the miserable thing weren't bad enough, our instructor has us do actual exercises on it. And stand on one foot!  I was thrilled when I got to lie down across it and do crunches.

We do this:

And this:

And we're supposed to do this (cheeky smile not required):

But this?

What you don't see in this picture is that he is shaking and wobbling, and his ankle is about to self-destruct. Even Queen-Pilates herself has a hard time with this. The rest of us just laugh and fall off. I'm sure it would be good for my core if I could keep my lower extremities intact.

But enough pathetic whining. On to the oysters.

You'll need:

1 1/2 qts. raw oysters, well drained

1/2 cup butter
2 rib celery, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (I've used dried, just less of it)
2 (10-oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 generous cup soft, fresh bread cubes (I actually use more than this—maybe 1 1/2 cups—and cut the cubes small)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste (don't use much—a generous pinch maybe)

1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
A sprinkling of bread crumbs (plain or Italian seasoned)

Preheat oven to 450° and grease a 13x9 dish. Drain oysters very well on paper towels and arrange in a single layer in casserole.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and saute celery and onions until they begin to soften. Add parsley, spinach, anise seed, Worcestershire, soft bread cubes, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir well together. Spread this mixture over the oysters evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes on the middle shelf. Remove from oven. If necessary, remove excess water that may have accumulated from the oysters. Sprinkle with grated cheese and a very thin layer of bread crumbs. Return dish to oven for 10 minutes or until slightly brown.

*Recipe from Louisiana Creole & Cajun Cooking by Margaret Maring.

Be thankful ~


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