Valentine’s Day with Legal Seafoods

By on January 23, 2019

Oysters, the fabled aphrodisiac, have enjoyed a long history of exciting the palate as much as the libido. The legendary romancer Casanova claimed to eat 50 oysters for breakfast every day. It is also rumored that he once seduced a virgin by sliding an oyster from his lips to hers.  And the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, emerged from the sea on an oyster shell to give birth to the Greek God of Sensual Love, Eros, according to Greek mythology. Today, oysters remain a favorite luxury menu offering.

When it comes to the sensual briny bi-valve mollusks, no one knows them better than Legal Sea Foods Executive Chef Richard Vellante. From his Valentine’s Day menu, here is a decadent recipe from the “Legal Sea Foods Cookbook”. Yum.


Oyster and Mushroom Casserole

Serves 4


    • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
    • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced shallots
    • 4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
    • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
    • 1 pint shucked oysters and their juices
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Salt


  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cracker crumb mixture*


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Melt the butter in a nonreactive saucepan.
  • Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat, and stir in the flour.
  • Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sherry and wine. The mixture will be thick.
  • Stir in the oysters and their juices.
  • Season with a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  • Put the mixture into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the oyster are cooked and the top is browned.

Cracker Crumb Mixture

Makes About 2 Cups


  • 1/4 pound oyster crackers or saltines
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves


  • Whirl the crackers in a food processor or blender mixture until they are evenly ground but retain some texture.
  • Sauté the onion until softened in 1 tablespoon of the butter, and then add to the crumb mixture in a bowl along with the remaining butter, parsley, and thyme. Mix thoroughly.
  • If the mixture hardens in the refrigerator, place it in a microwave oven for 5-10 seconds before using.


About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”