The Lowcountry is known for delicious oysters, available from September through April. Here are some of the best “must-try” local recipes:
MaMa’s Oyster Pie
Recipe from Luke Peeple’s mother, probably passed down to her by her mother, “Doctor” Jane Guilford.
3 bacon strips
1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion
5 tablespoons of flour
1 ½ quarts of oysters
Salt and pepper
3 pinches of nutmeg
1 pie crust
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Fry 3 bacon strips until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
3. Sauté 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of bacon grease. Brown 5 tablespoons of flour in same pan. Add 1 ½ quarts of oysters. Season with salt and pepper to taste (some oysters are already salty so they don’t need as much salt and pepper as others. Taste the oysters before sprinkling with salt and pepper).
4. Add 3 pinches of nutmeg – simply sprinkle a small amount over the top. Don’t use too much. Nutmeg gives it the distinctive flavor.
5. Put in casserole with pieces of fried bacon mixed in. Cover with pie crust. Prick crust in several places with a fork and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until crust looks done.
Note: Always use Bluffton oysters! And the best bacon and pie crust you can find!
Many thanks to Jeanne Saussy Wright, author of A Gullah Psalm, The Musical Life and Work of Luke Peeples, for the recipe above.
Mulled Down Oysters
This recipe is similar to MaMa’s Oyster Pie but is served over rice without the pie crust. It is spicier and yields approximately 2 servings.
4 strips of bacon, cut
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups of fresh oysters
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
3 tablespoons of cold water
1 pinch of browning seasoning (such as Kitchen Bouquet)
Creole or Cajun seasoning
1. Cut 3 or 4 pieces of bacon into one-inch pieces and fry bacon in a skillet until crisp. Set bacon aside, pour off drippings and reserve 3 tablespoons.
2. Peel and dice 1 medium onion. Brown in bacon drippings. Add one or two cups of fresh oysters with liquid as desired.
3. Stir and cook about 5 minutes over medium heat until oysters are hot and the edges begin to curl.
4. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with three tablespoons of cold water and add to the oyster mix. Add a pinch of your favorite browning seasoning (such as Kitchen Bouquet) along with Cajun or Creole seasonings to taste and chopped chives.
5. Serve over hot, cooked rice. Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top.
A Poor Man’s Mulled Down Oysters
1. Cook oysters in your favorite brown sauce or gravy seasoned as desired.
2. Serve over hot rice.