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Most families have a signature holiday dish. For my family, it was my grandma’s oyster dressing. The whole family, extended cousins and all, would rave about it. I’ll be honest, I hate it. I’ve tried at least once a year and I still don’t like it–I love oysters, I love dressing…but for some reason they don’t go well together for me. It might be that a couple years ago I found out it contained chicken livers, but I still hated it way before that incident. I’ve loved every other dish my grandma made, except that one.

There’s only one other cook in the family that would match up to my grandma’s talent, and that was my great aunt. Her and my grandma cooking together was heaven sent and really only happened three times a year. So I’m going to include her recipe for what she called “shrimp and bell pepper dip”

  • 5 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped (some green onions don’t hurt as well)
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 8 springs of parsley chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic-minced
  • 5 slices of white bread, soaked in water w. 2 bay leaves and 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine
  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 can tomato paste-adding water if necessary (some family members say she used ketchup)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Melt butter. Saute peppers, onions, celery, green onions, and garlic until soft. Add shrimp, thyme, basil, oregano, and tomato paste. cook over low heat, stirring frequently for about 15 min. (add water if necessary, white wine probably isn’t a bad idea either)

Squeeze water out of the bread and crumble over the pepper mixture. add parsley. Stir to blend all ingredients, then add breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Place in a 2 quart dish, add more breadcrumbs if you like, and bake for 15 min.

please note that my great aunt made this different every time and didn’t write down recipes, but this is the closest consistent recipe my family can agree on. Please feel free to make changes and send me your recipes as well

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