In most places around the country parents are forcing their children to eat their peas and carrots. Inevitably, while growing up most children have suffered through the "forced tastings". You know them well, the "eat just one pea and you will be done"; "give it a try and I am sure you will like it"; "you can't get up from the table until you finish your greens" - everyone has experienced these palate pressures from their parents.
In New Orleans, these situations are the same. However, the peas and carrots are replaced with raw oysters. I will never forget the day that we were dining as a family in a small local restaurant and my Daddy encouraged me as a very picky 5 year old to eat a raw slimy oyster. I vividly remember that it didn't end so well and I am sure my father quickly regretted coxing me into indulging in this delicacy. It was a long time before I was able to partake in the oyster experience again, but all my wounds are healed now and I have never looked back. I LOVE LOVE LOVE oysters and can't get enough of them. I bet my parents could have never predicted this outcome as they watched in horror 20 something years ago!
Adapted from Greg Sonnier/Gabrielle
1 can of artichoke hearts
1 pint of large oysters (fresh) drained
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta, finely diced
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup green onions
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1. In a medium-hot skillet, place 1 Tbsp of olive oil; brown pancetta until crispy;
add butter; saute onions, garlic, and parsley until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add chopped artichokes then lemon juice and saute about 2 more mins.
Remove from fire; add breadcrumbs and cheese, and toss lightly.
3. Place 4 or 5 oysters into each of 4 individual casseroles.
Top with artichoke dressing (divided evenly)
and with extra 2 Tbsp of cheese and breadcrumbs, mixed together.
4. Bake in hot oven (450 degrees) until browned, about 10-15 minutes (I baked for 12 minutes).
These individual casseroles were amazing! It was a very easy dish to make and oh so delicious. I couldn't stop thinking about this dish for days after I made it. I love all the ingredients and they came together perfectly. Forrest found it to be a little tart. I love lemon and sour flavors so I didn't agree and if I were to make it again I wouldn't change a thing. But if you are not a big fan of lemon then only use half of a lemon when squeezing over the artichoke hearts.