2 pints shucked oysters with their liquor
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups finely crushed crackers (such as Ritz), divided
1/2 cup grated cheddar, divided

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate or other ovenproof baking dish.

Carefully check oysters for bits of shell. In a medium saucepan, heat oysters and their liquor over medium heat just until edges being to curl, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Discard liquid and set oysters aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the celery and onion. Saute vegetables until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the milk, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, pepper, 1 1/2 cups of the crushed crackers and 1/4 cup of the cheddar. Stir in oysters and pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine remaining crushed crackers with remaining cheddar and sprinkle over oyster mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or just until top turns light brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.