Recipes

Baked Texas Oyster with Tasso Ham, Creamed Mustard Greens, and Cornbread Gratin

Kenny Gilbert

Gilbert's Underground Kitchen, Fernandina Beach, FL

Gilbert’s baked Texas oysters are the perfect winter indulgence. Falling somewhere between chicken pot pie and clam chowder, the briny oysters are doused in an addictive combination of half-and-half and Boursin cheese, spiked with fatty tasso ham, and finished with a dusting of homemade cornbread gratin. 

Ingredients

  • Skillet Cornbread:
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup drained canned hominy 
  • 1/4 cup canned creamed corn
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  •  
  • Tasso Ham–Boursin Cream Sauce:
  • 1 cup oyster liquor or clam juice
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup Boursin cheese
  • 1/2 cup tasso ham, small-diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  •  
  • To plate:
  • 16 oysters, shucked
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • Four 4-inch cast-iron pots

Method

Make the skillet cornbread: preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Then add the buttermilk, eggs, hominy, creamed corn, sugar, and oil and mix well. 

Place 1 tablespoon butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet or pie plate. Place the skillet into the oven and allow butter to brown, about 8 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the hot skillet. Return to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the cornbread is golden brown. 

Remove the cornbread and allow to cool to room temperature. 

Make the cornbread crumble: take the reserved cornbread and crumble into small pieces onto a cookie sheet. Bake in 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and dried out. Allow crumbles to cool and set aside.

Blanch the mustard greens: fill a large pot with salted water and set over high heat. Once boiling, add the mustard greens. Cook until the greens are tender and bright green, about 1 minute. Shock the greens in a large bowl filled with ice water. Chop and set aside.

Make the tasso ham–oyster cream sauce: in a small pot, add the oyster liquor (or clam juice), half-and-half, and Boursin cheese and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick. Add the diced tasso ham and cook for another 5 minutes. Keep warm and set aside.

To plate: preheat the oven to 425°F. In a 4-inch cast iron pot or 6-ounce ramekin, add 4 shucked oysters and 1/4 cup of the chopped and blanched mustard greens. Pour 4 ounces of the tasso ham–oyster cream sauce over the oyster and mustard green mixture.

Place the pots in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove the pots and top each with 1/4 cup of the crumbled cornbread. Return the pots to the oven and bake for 3 minutes.

Place each small pot onto a small plate lined with a napkin and serve immediately.

Yield

4 servings