Nov 16, 2023 - Food and Drink

Consider putting oysters in your Thanksgiving dressing this year

The Mariner's Menu's oyster dressing. Photo: Courtesy of N.C. Sea Grant

If you're up for something new this Thanksgiving, try adding a little Eastern North Carolina flair to your dressing.

Why it matters: Thanks to an extensive shoreline, coastal North Carolinians have been putting oysters in their Thanksgiving dressing for generations β€” often as a way to stretch their meals and feed more people, Vanda Lewis, the recipe tester for the North Carolina Sea Grant's Mariner's Menu, told Axios.

  • An extra bit of saltiness β€” often via a saltine cracker crust or in this case the natural salinity of the oyster β€”Β is a highlight of many dishes in the eastern part of the state, Our State magazine once noted.
  • Let's not forget Chapel Hill chef (and New Bern native) Bill Smith's famous Atlantic Beach Pie's crucial inclusion of saltine crackers.
  • "It gives you a little different flavor along with the other dishes traditionally served at Christmas and Thanksgiving," Lewis said.

What they're saying: Oyster dressing can even be a great introduction for people who typically avoid them, Barry Nash of the North Carolina Sea Grant told Axios.

  • "People who don't like oysters like oyster dressing, and the reason is because of the added breading and other seasonings," he said.
  • "It gives it, I would say, a complex, multi-layered flavor."

Read the Mariner's Menu's recipe for a classic oyster dressing


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