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Home > Restaurants > Recipes > Deconstructed Oyster Stuffing

Deconstructed Oyster Stuffing

Provided by: Chef Wylie Dufresne

  • Type of Dish: Appetizers, Sides
  • Cuisine: American
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Who better to turn Thanksgiving inside out than the culinary mad scientist Dufresne? Classic oyster stuffing became paper-thin crudo with savory topping.


36 Wellfleet oysters (ask to have the oysters shucked)
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pickling vinegar:
1 cup Champagne vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon red-chile flakes
½ teaspoon salt
1 bunch Asian celery (6 stalks regular celery can be substituted)
Celery-leaf tops for garnish, thinly sliced

2 large red onions, peeled
2 cups grapeseed oil

½ cup butter
3 cups brioche cut into ½-inch dice (any other type of bread can be substituted)


Strain the oysters through a sieve and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk oil and vinegar together; place oysters in vinaigrette for 5 minutes. Rinse, strain, and set aside.

Wipe a flat surface with a damp towel, and stretch a sheet of plastic wrap, measuring at least 16 by 16 inches, over it. With a dry towel, wipe the plastic wrap to make it as smooth as possible against the counter. Place the oysters in the center of the plastic wrap. Pull another sheet of plastic wrap, of equal size, over the existing sheet and oysters. Press the wrap down around the oysters, pushing out as much air as possible. With a flat mallet, gently pound the oysters into a sheet roughly 1/8 inch in thickness. Transfer the sheet of oysters onto a flat tray in their plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until frozen. Remove the oysters from the freezer and cut into 6 equal-size oblongs. (Work fast; oysters thaw quickly.) Return the tray to the freezer.

When ready to serve, peel the plastic off both sides of the oysters and set in the center of each plate. Arrange pickled Asian celery, onion confit, and croutons across the oysters at an angle. The three ingredients should mix into one line. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of Asian celery leaf. Serve immediately. (This can be assembled, excluding the croutons, and kept in the freezer until just before serving.)

For the pickled Asian celery: Place all ingredients for the pickling vinegar in a saucepan, add 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steep for 45 minutes. Strain the pickling vinegar.

Wash the celery and cut into thin slices (about  inch on a 60-degree bias) and place in a bowl. Bring the pickling vinegar back to a boil; pour over the celery and refrigerate. Drain on a paper towel before serving.

For the onion confit: Cut the onions in half, top to bottom, and slice thinly with the grain, about 1/8-inch wide. Place in saucepan, and cover with grapeseed oil. Season well with salt, place over medium heat and bring to roughly 170 degrees. Cook until the onions have lost their raw flavor but still crunch. Let cool; drain before serving. (Save the onion-flavored oil for roasted potatoes or vinaigrette.)

For the croutons: Heat the butter in a large sauté pan at medium-high. Add the diced brioche; sauté until it starts to brown. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

(Published 2009)