At the end of our train trip from Seattle to Los Angeles, we spent a few days with our daughter, Carol, and her family. She is an excellent cook, and she always tries to make some interesting food during our visits. She also knows that Susan loves oysters, and since she grew up in Louisiana, New Orleans style baked oysters seemed perfect – even though it is May. The recipe in her recipe box is called Oysters Mosska, undoubtedly so as not to get in trouble with Mosca’s restaurant in the New Orleans suburb of Westwego and home to the eponymous Oysters Mosca.
Mosca’s is one of the old-line favorite restaurants of local residents, having opened in 1946 and operated by the same family ever since. Part of its charm is that it is not easy to find. It is on Highway 90 a ways after you cross the Huey P. Long Bridge, but it sits back from the road, is a low-slung white-painted clapboard building that looks more like a house, and has only a small, dimly lit sign. When we were living in Louisiana, I drove right by it more than once. An interesting story is that the place was where everyone went after a night spent in the gambling houses that populated this now-lonely stretch of road. As well, rumor has linked the restaurant to the local Mafia, but the Moscas have neither confirmed nor denied that rumor.
Once inside, you are struck by the liveliness of the place. It is brightly lit and filled with families enjoying themselves. Even with a reservation you may have to wait on the straight-backed chairs lined up against the walls.
Th menu is fairly limited but filled with Italian standbys that all have a full quota of garlic. Virtually every table has at least one order of Oysters Mosca. In the old days, the dish would be served in a metal cake pan, and each diner would fish out his or her helping of succulent oysters.
To my knowledge the family has never provided an authorized version of the recipe for Oysters Mosca. We have a made-up version in our family cookbook that is a close approximation. As I mentioned above, this version comes from Carol’s recipe collection and is labelled “Oysters Mosska”, I suspect to protect against any accusations of copyright infringement.
If you do decide to visit the restaurant, be advised that they do not accept checks or credit cards – cash only. But they do have a convenient ATM inside the dining area.
Baked Oysters New Orleans Style
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- 1½ tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 1 pint shucked oysters with liquor
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- Creole spice
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- n a saute pan over mediu heat, cook onions untile translucent. Then add garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add the oyster liquor and the beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the liquids are reduced to about one-half.
- Add the oysters and parsley. Return to the boil and then remove from heat. Adjust seasoning with Creole spice, salt, and pepper.
- Transfer to a metal cake pan or a shallow baking dish.
- Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, chopped basil, 1 teaspoon of Creole spice, and olive oil. Sprinkle over the top of the oysters.
- Place under a pre-heated broiler for 8 to 10 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbling.
- Serve immediately. 2 or 3 servings