Local oysters, kale, cheese goodness! Enjoy!

Local oysters, kale, cheese goodness! Enjoy!

The holidays are here! While seasonal celebrations will be smaller this year, it is still a perfect time to include local seafood and farm products on your table.

“This is a holiday season unlike any other, and it is more important than ever that we continue to support the men and women who have worked throughout the pandemic to provide fresh, local food products,” said Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. “There is plenty of local meat, seafood, dairy products and hardy winter vegetables available for your holiday meal. Visit MarylandsBest.net to find local products near you.”

“It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, not only because of the holidays, but also for fresh Maryland oysters – which are at their best right now,” said Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “While this has been a tough year for many of us, we can support the men and women in our communities who produce and catch our food while celebrating with our families by choosing locally grown and locally caught items this holiday season.”

“Chesapeake cuisine makes Maryland a very special place to be for the holidays,” said Chef John Shields, author of several books on the region’s cuisine. “Think local oysters, Old Bay and fresh veggies, and you can’t go wrong.”

Chef Shields prepared his recipe for “Maryland Oyster and Baby Kale Pudding” (listed below) during a Facebook Live event hosted by Maryland’s Best. This is a hearty, traditional Maryland holiday recipe for families to try at home this year. Watch the video.

This time of year is peak season for Maryland oysters. Both wild caught and farm raised oysters bring the Chesapeake to your table. Try some oysters on the half shell at home. Check out this shucking tutorial for helpful tips on opening fresh oysters at home.

Visit MarylandsBest.net for more recipes that highlight local agricultural and seafood products, including rockfish, blue catfish, poultry, and fresh local produce.

Looking for local beverages to pair with your meal? Visit Maryland Wineries AssociationBrewers Association of Maryland, and Maryland Distillers Guild.


Maryland Oyster and Baby Kale Pudding

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ¼ cup finely minced yellow onion

  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 4 generous cups baby kale (or tender greens), torn into pieces, with larger stems removed (approximately ½ pound)

  • ¼ cup water or vegetable stock

  • Pinch of salt

  • 6 slices bread, crust removed, buttered and cubed

  • 6 ounces sharp local Cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 1 pint shucked oysters, drained (reserve liquid for another use)

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • ⅛ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces, for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions, green onions, and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the kale and the water or stock and season with a pinch of salt. Raise the heat to high and cover the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the water has completely evaporated. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

  3. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish. Place half of the buttered bread cubes in the bottom of the dish. Add the shredded cheese on top. Distribute the oysters and kale in the casserole and top with remaining bread cubes.

  4. Beat the eggs, salt, pepper, milk, and Tabasco together in a bowl. Pour the mixture over the casserole. Dot the top of the casserole with butter and bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours, or until a thin-bladed knife in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.

Adapted from Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields, 2015, Johns Hopkins University Press