2 quarts oysters

    1/4 pound (1 stick) butter

    3 whole scallions, chopped

    1 green or red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and chopped

    1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

    1/4 cup flour

    1 cup heavy cream

    1/4 cup grated imported Parmesan cheese

    Freshly grated nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    Salt

    Freshly ground black pepper

    1/2 cup bread crumbs

 

  Preheat the broiler. Grease a 9×13-inch ovenproof serving dish or

 spray it with nonstick spray.

 

  Drain the oysters and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in

 a heavy casserole. Add the scallions and pepper and saute until the

 onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and oysters and

 saute for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the

 remaining butter. Stir in the flour. When smooth, add the cream, and

 stir until boiling and thick. Add the cheese. Stir this cheese sauce

 into the oyster mixture and season with nutmeg, paprika, salt, and

 pepper. The casserole may be made ahead to this point and refrigerated

 overnight. Return it to the simmer on top of the stove before

 proceeding.

 

  Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and top with the bread crumbs

 and dot with the remaining butter. Place under the broiler until

 browned and bubbling—about 10 minutes, depending on the depth of the

 casserole. Makes 10 to 20 servings as a starter.