What Is Oyster Pie?

Love them or hate them, oysters are a Southern delicacy that many people cannot live without. Our staff is divided on them—some naysayers describe the texture of fresh oysters as slippery, slimy, sticky, and unpleasant. 

However, some people who can't stand raw oysters alter their minds once they're cooked. No food better exemplifies this drastic shift in attitude than oyster pie.

If you have never heard of oyster pie, you are not alone. I grew raised in Mississippi, and it was certainly not on our dinner table.

Oyster pie is a popular dish in South Carolina's Lowcountry; in fact, one of the first known recipes for it was in a cookbook titled Carolina Housewife in 1847, 

followed by the highly sought-after antique cookbook Charleston Receipts. However, passion for oyster pie is not restricted to the South; people all over the country enjoy this iconic meal. 

Oyster pie isn't technically a pie. In truth, it is not a pie at all. Just as "receipt" is an old-fashioned word for recipe, "pie" is an old-fashioned phrase for casserole. 

Oyster pie is created by putting raw or smoked oysters, cream, butter, and seasonings in an oven-safe dish, then sprinkling with crackers and baking until the oysters are cooked and the crust is golden brown.

Canned oysters became readily available decades ago, and many home cooks chose them over fresh oysters for affordability and convenience. While that is completely OK today, this dish will taste best with freshly shucked oysters.

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