The briny smell of a fresh pint of oysters hits me where it counts. The love my family feels for the following dish is deep. We have been making it for the holidays for nearly 40 years. Non-oyster eaters and kids usually start out just eating the cracker part around the oysters, which is saturated with the oyster liquor. Before long though, they've become converts, piling it on their plates and eyeing how much everyone else is taking. Every year my sister dredges up the story about the time my brother-in-law ate all of the leftover oysters in a late night fridge raid. It was a choice he was lucky to live to regret.
1 pint oysters (smaller=better, in this case)
2 cups coarse saltine crumbs (46 crackers... I told you we've been making this a while.)
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Drain the oysters, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquor. Combine the cracker crumbs and butter. Apread 1/3 of cracker crumbs in the bottom of a casserole. Place 1/2 of the oysters on top of the cracker crumbs. Sprinkle with pepper. Repeat with 1/3 of cracker crumbs, rest of oysters, and pepper. Combine cream, oyster liquor, salt and Worchestershire sauce. Pour over all. Top with remaining cracker crumbs. Bake in 350 degree oven until bubbly and top is brown (30 minutes). Um, yum.