Stephen Lyle ,
Executive Chef and Partner, Village, 62 West Ninth Street NY NY 10011

"One year, when I was the chef at the Odeon, I catered Thanksgiving for the David Letterman Show. It was a lot of fun, but i t involved cutting up something like 37 turkeys. The day we did this I had a new cook who had just arrived from France. He was so unnerved by the experience that he got back on the plane the next day. So, I think there is something about Thanksgiving that only Americans understand. There are many Americans who only cook on Thanksgiving: They are deathly afraid of hurting themselves in the process. Thanksgiving comes with a special set of anxieties.
My advice is, most importantly, to make way too much food. Anything less is unpatriotic. It's ok if the turkey breast is a little dried out. You will still have access to the foodie VIP lounge in heaven, even if you don't turn the bird every thirty seconds. That's what gravy was invented for. And, if all else fails, plan to let mom cook next year."
Pan Roast of Oysters with Poblano Chiles on Toasted Cornbread

The Cornbread:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk


The Oyster Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 36 plump East Coast oysters, shucked and drained of liquid from oysters
  • 1/2 cup poblano Chiles, roasted, finely seeded, peeled, and diced
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • Whole cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Cornbread:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and combine the ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Form a well in the center and add the honey, eggs, and milk. Blend the mixture quickly with a fork. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

For the Oysters and Serving Instructions:
Turn on the broiler. Cut the cornbread into 6 equal rectangles. Split each one in half, lightly toast it under the broiler, and place it in a soup plate.
Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the butter. Heat until it becomes foamy. Then add the oysters and cook about 2 minutes turning them after 1 minute, until the edges begin to curl. Remove the oysters with a slotted spoon and place them on the cornbread. Set aside and keep warm.
Add the reserved oyster liquid and chiles to the sauté pan and cook until the
sauce begins to thicken. Add the crème fraîche and reduce the sauce until it
is thick. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice, chopped cilantro,
and Tabasco sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste and pour the sauce over the oysters. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

Drink suggestion & tips:
Drink enough old Burgundy so as to prevent anything interfere with your well-deserved sense of achievement and well being. Plan to let Mom cook next year.

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