Don’t count out having fresh oyster dressing at your Thanksgiving dinner just yet. Officials with the Mississippi Department of marine Resources on Tuesday said that reefs in Biloxi Bay will reopen at sunrise on Wednesday.
The reefs were opened for the first time in more than 50 years on Nov. 1 but they were closed Nov. 9 after rain moved through the Coast. The reefs were next reopened on Nov. 16 but were shut down the following day due to poor water samples, which means the concentration of bacteria was too high for oyster consumption.
DMR said in a press release that recent water samples showed the area could be reopened for oyster harvesting, including the Biloxi Bay and Shearwater reefs.
These reefs are approved for tonging only, and the daily sack limit is 15. The reefs will be closed Thursday but will reopen Friday, Nov. 25.
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On Nov. 15, the Commission on Marine Resources approved opening reefs in the western portion of the Mississippi Sound from Nov. 17-22. Those reefs will close at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22.
The oyster season of 2015 was cut short due to excessive rain and spill-off from the Pearl River, which flooded above 12.5 feet.
The 2015 oyster season was also hindered by a large red tide outbreak.
Emeril’s oyster dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 cups cubed day-old bread
- 2 cups oysters with their liquor
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350º F. Generously oil a medium baking dish.
In a large skillet heat oil over medium-heat and add onion, green pepper and celery and saute, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Lower the heat and fold in bread cubes, oysters and their liquor, and broth until moistened. Add green onions, parsley, Creole seasoning, and hot pepper sauce.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing into baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes longer, until golden brown and crispy on top.