It only comes once a year, and after each Thanksgiving meal when I’m feeling incredibly full and loosening my belt, I am certain that once is enough.

Speaking from the experience of having made a full dinner for the last five years, the menu for the biggest meal of the year is often a signature style that’s reflective of the cook and the geographical location. More and more variations of the classic Thanksgiving meal are popping up—one in particular in coastal states like Florida is a coastal Thanksgiving menu. So, what makes a coastal menu coastal? Seafood such as fish and shellfish (usually non-existent in the traditional meal), light sides like salad and shrimp cocktail, grill usage, Cajun spices, key lime pie and bright lemon and lime juices.

This oyster Thanksgiving stuffing is certainly coastal—made of toasty French bread cubes, salty warm oyster meat from your local fish market and a list of vegetables and spices to bring together the flavors of your turkey and ring in a true coastal-style thanksgiving dinner.

Oyster Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ingredients:
10 cups French bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
10 slices thick-cut bacon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced
6 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 pound shucked oysters with 1 cup of the liquor reserved, about 40 medium oysters
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from the pan, and cut the strips into ½ pieces. Return them to the skillet.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet with the bacon. Add shallots and celery. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft about 5 minutes. Add oyster liquid, chicken stock, parsley, thyme, sage, Tabasco, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl, and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Transfer mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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About Amanda Jane

Amanda Jane is the creator of the food blog Seasonally Jane, a creative space where she shares her love of seasonally inspired cooking through original recipes, photography and writing.  Seasonally Jane celebrates the use of peak-season fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on organic whole foods and unique ingredients. Amanda launched her blog in September 2014 and is based in Lighthouse Point.