Holiday baked oysters

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
4 cups Firm white bread (Italian or French or sourdough)
½ cup Butter
Salt and cayenne pepper
1 pint Raw oysters, well-drained
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1 small Onion, grated
½ cup Whipping cream

paprika (TIP:) This dish can be made with oysters of *any* size. While fresh ones ARE best, thawed, frozen oysters *may* be used. If you wish, prepare the dish and refrigerate it for several hours before baking. Or, on the other hand, you can cut and brown the bread cubes ahead of time. The rest can be finished in minutes, once the bread is browned.

Remove the crusts from the bread. Cut the bread into quarter-inch cubes; in a large skillet, melt half the butter. Add 2 cups of bread cubes and toss over LOW HEAT until they're golden-brown. Sprinkle the cubes lightly with salt and caynne, stirring constantly.

Brown the remaining cubes in the remaining butter. Sprinkle again with the cayenne and the salt.

Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with ⅓ of the bread cubes; top the bread evenly with half the oysters, sprinkle with salt and cayenne, half the lemon juice and half the onion. Cover with ⅓ of the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt, cayenne, the rest of the lemon juice and the onion. Pour in the cream, and top with the last third of the bread cubes. Sprinkle with paprika to make pretty.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes and serve *immediately*.

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