Located on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish on Highway 90 West about 4 1/2 miles from the Huey P. Long Bridge, Mosca's – an iconic New Orleans establishment – has been serving up family-style Italian dishes since 1946. One of its most revered dishes is Oysters Mosca.
New Orleans is a city known for highlighting the humble oyster. Not only will you find oysters-on-the-half-shell available throughout the city, but famous oyster dishes like Antoine's Oyster Rockefeller and Arnaud's Oyster Bienville – and even Drago's famous Char-Grilled Oysters – are no longer bound to their establishments of origin. Rather, you will find them on menus in restaurants peppered across New Orleans and even beyond.
Oysters Mosca are much simpler to prepare than Rockefeller and Bienville. Mosca's menu describes Oysters Mosca as "Fresh whole oysters with Mosca's special Italian seasoning, topped with bread crumbs and baked." Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker included Oysters Mosca in their 2008 cookbook Cooking Up a Storm. In that recipe, they list ingredients that are not included the short description on Mosca's menu, such as butter, olive oil, chopped green onions and parsley, minced garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, and dried basil and oregano. The recipe I include below is yet another variation, published by Judy Walker on Nola.com (first in 2010, and then updated in 2019). It is this variation that we made last night and that you will find photographed above.
It's holiday time, which is a perfect time for oysters. Make you some. And, like Marcelle says, don't forget the french bread!
- 2 dozen freshly shucked oysters, patted dry
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 (canned) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
- Salt and cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup (or more) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Arrange the oysters in a shallow baking dish in one layer. Heat the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring until just soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the oysters.
- Scatter the chopped artichokes over the oysters, and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.