Your taste buds light up with the first bite into a plump Louisiana oyster releasing its briny Gulf flavor and combining with a creamy, liqueur-infused sauce for a taste explosion that makes you reach for more. It’s the perfect appetizer or party dish.
What’s even better is that this Louisiana Oyster Skillet is a no-fuss, one-pan preparation that’s simple to make. It has all the creamy comfort of oyster bisque and the cheesiness of char-grilled oysters. Still, it is easily adaptable to the home kitchen with any oven broiler.
Recently, Roxanne and Lo went into the kitchen to show how easy this dish is to prepare. And if my taste buds are any judge, then this recipe is about as good as it gets to showcase Louisiana oysters. So, check out the short video below and see for yourself:
For sourcing the tastiest Gulf oysters, we went online to Louisiana Direct Seafood and searched the many listings for seafood vendors along the Gulf coast. Then we made a trek down the bayou to Lafourche Parish to talk to the fishermen who harvest and process Louisiana oysters.
What we learned was a surprise: Freezing oysters is smart. It has become a common method to extend the shelf life and always have a ready supply on hand. Once thawed, the oysters are as good as fresh. Bryan Mobley knows a thing or two about oysters and how to freeze them.
At Corina Corina Seafood in Galliano, LA, Bryan processes Louisiana oysters where he packages the 1-pound (approx. 2 dozen oysters), vacuum-sealed oysters for the Vermilion Bay Sweet brand sold online at the Louisiana Direct Seafood SHOP website. These are high-quality, fat, juicy oysters that are flash-frozen at their peak of freshness.
Once you’ve thawed out a package of Bryan’s high-quality frozen oysters, you’ll never buy them any other way. This way, you can always have a pack of Louisiana oysters in your freezer; they’re perfect for frying, grilling, or our delicious appetizer recipe. If you live in the Acadiana area, you’re in luck because there are three retail outlets selling these oysters at: The Market at Broussard Commons in Broussard, Gonsoulin Farm Store in Loreauville, or Boudreaux’s Southern Seafood in Broussard. Give these retailers a call in advance, and they’ll have your order waiting.
Our Louisiana Oyster Skillet is rich, creamy, and cheesy, but make no mistake, it is the flavor of Louisiana oysters that shine in this dish.
- 1 dozen meaty Louisiana oysters, any oyster liquid reserved
- 3 strips smoked bacon, chopped
- ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons finely diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod, Herbsaint or absinthe
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Dash of hot sauce
- ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
- Toasted French bread, for serving
- Preheat your oven to 450ºF.
- Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquid. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces and reserve for later use. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease.
- Add the onions and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and parsley and stir for 1 minute. Add the flour to the mixture and begin whisking to cook the raw taste out of the flour, about 1 minute. Add the Pernod and the reserved oyster liquor (if using) and continue whisking as the liquor reduces by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add the half and half along with the white pepper and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil and quickly lower the heat to a simmer. Add the basil leaves. Continue to cook until the cream begins to thicken to a sauce consistency to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the oysters to the mixture and poach them at a simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Sample the sauce and adjust with salt and hot sauce.
- Sprinkle the top of the oysters with cheese and the reserved bacon pieces. Move the skillet to the upper rack of the hot oven and crank the heat up to broil. Watch closely as the sauce bubbles, the oysters begin to curl around the edges, and the cheese starts to brown, about 60 seconds. Remove immediately and sprinkle with chopped green onion tops.
- Serve the skillet family-style along with toasted French bread.
This Boat-To-Table series of stories, recipes, and information about our seafood industry is brought to you in support of Louisiana Direct Seafood, a free program of Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU Ag Center.
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J S Roeser says
What would be a good substitute for the alcohol?
George Graham says
Hey JS- If you are asking what alternative alcohol to substitute for the anise-flavored liqueur, I would try white wine. If you are saying you want to make it non-alcoholic, then just leave it out. The dish will taste great, but it will not have the anise flavor that Pernod brings to it. All the best.
Jo Kaufman says
I’m not a fan of Pernod…don’t really like anything anise flavored. Could you suggest an alternative? Thanks. This sounds delicious, otherwise.
George Graham says
Hey Jo- Dry white wine would add a more neutral flavor, but this dish is awesome without any alcohol. Best to you.
Joseph Kirby says
Fennel bulb could approximate the flavor.
Devin Clementi says
Hi George, thanks for this recipe and the emails. Our local farmers market sells oysters, so I’ll make this on Sunday! I’m writing to you from Australia. Love Cajun food and am looking forward to revisiting New Orleans but also visiting the surrounding areas and really exploring Southern Louisiana. What an amazing part of the United States, so rich in history, music and food.
George Graham says
Devin- Yes, the Acadiana area of Louisiana is very colorful with one-of-a-kind music, food, dance, and language. It is not to be missed. All the best my Aussie friend.
Terry davis says
Always wanted to ask someone this question. What amount of roux do you use in a 3-4 qt. pot when making your gumbo? I’ve always just added until it seemed right, but what is the rule? Have you ever had gumbo from Mahoney’s in Biloxi? My favorite. Congrats on the new book. I will be ordering soon. Take care and keep the recipes coming.
George Graham says
Hey Terry- Great to hear from you, and I love Mary Mahoney’s restaurant in Biloxi, too. When it comes to gumbo, there are no rules. Some like it thick, some like it thin. Folks in north Louisiana like a lighter gumbo, but in Cajun country, we like it dark. The ratio of roux to liquid (stock or water) is best to start with 2 heaping tablespoons of roux per quart of liquid to make a medium-thick gumbo. Once it has combined in the pot and thickened, you can always add more to your own taste for a thicker gumbo. Be sure to remember your “roux ratio” for future gumbos. Hope this helps. All the best.
Looks delicious. Can I use chicken or shrimp and serve over pasta?
George Graham says
Annette – Sure you can. And your pasta idea is spot on even with this oyster recipe. I will say that oysters and Pernod are a natural combination that might not work great with chicken. You might want to substitute dry white wine. All the best.