Ornamental Separator

A Small Loaf with Oysters

Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home

This recipe represents a type of presentation using dinner rolls as a serving dish. There were many variations on this basic idea. Asparagus, mushrooms, ham, sausage, and even chocolate were all used as fillers in these recipes. Here, rolls are paired with another classic ingredient found in the Chesapeake: oysters.

18th Century

TAKE some Chibbols, Parsley, and Mushrooms, cut small, and toss them up with a little Butter; put in the Oysters, season them with pounded Pepper, sweet herbs, and all spices, leave them with a little Flour, and add a little Cullis or Essence; then take your small French Loaves, make a little Hole in the Bottom, take out the Crum, without hurting the Crust, fill them with your Oyster ragout, and stop the Holes with the Crust taken off; place your Loaves so filled in your dish, with a little Cullis or Gravy over them, let them get a Colour in the Oven, and serve them up hot for a dainty Dish.

— LaChapelle, The Modern Cooks and Complete Housewife’s Companion, p.414.

21st Century


  • 4 hard crusted rolls (such as French or Portuguese rolls)
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 pints of oysters
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. allspice


  1. Sauté mushrooms, shallots, and parsley in butter until soft.
  2. Add oyster liquor and spices and cook until hot.
  3. Add flour to the mixture and cook until thick. Take the pan off the heat and add the oysters. Cover the pan and set aside. The oysters will cook gently off the heat.
  4. Cut a small circle in the bottom of each bread roll and lift it out to use later as a plug. Using your finger or small knife, gently hollow out the interior without puncturing the outer crust.
  5. Fill rolls with oyster mixture; replace bread circle.
  6. Place in pan, plug side down, and bake in a 350°F oven until brown.
  7. Serve immediately.

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