Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home
There are connoisseurs of oysters on the half shell. This recipe, however, combines the great flavor of a fried oyster with the added goodness of a beef sauce.
Open twenty large oyster, take them out of their liquor, save the liquor, and dip the oysters in a batter made thus: take two eggs, beat them well, a little lemon-peel grated, a little nutmeg grated, a blade of mace pounded fine, a little parsley chopped fine; beat altogether with a little flour, have ready some butter or dripping in a stew pan; when it boils, dip in your oysters one by one, into the batter, and fry them of a fine brown; then with an egg slice take them out, and lay them in a dish before the fire. Pour the fat out of the pan, and shake a little flour over the bottom of the pan, then rub a piece of butter, as big as a small walnut, all over with your knife, whilst it is over the fire; then pour in three spoonfuls of the oyster liquor strained, one spoonful of white wine, and a quarter of a pint of gravy; grate a little nutmeg, stir altogether, throw in the oysters, give the pan a toss round, and when the sauce is of a good thickness, pour all into the dish, and garnish with raspings.
— Hannah Glasse,Â “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy“Â 1796.
- 1 Pint of select oysters drained
- The oysters’ liquid
- 2 eggs
- Grated peel from ½ lemon
- 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground mace
- 1½ tsp. of chopped fresh parsley
- Approx. ¼ cup of flour for thickening the batter
- 1 ¼ stick of butter
- 1 Tbsp. white wine (your choice of type)
- ½ cup beef broth
- Dash of ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
- Drain your oysters through a colander into a mixing bowl.
- Whip your eggs well in another mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon peel, nutmeg, mace and parsley and whisk a few times to blend seasonings.
- Add about a tablespoon of flour and whisk the eggs to create the batter. If it is thin add a little more flour until it becomes a light batter with no flour lumps. This should not be thick but enough to cling to the oysters.
- Pat your oysters dry with a thin cloth so that the batter will adhere.
- In a fry pan put 1 stick of butter and bring heat to medium to medium high. Do not burn the butter.
- Dip your oysters in the batter one by one and fry them to a golden color. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
- Pour the butter out of the pan. Wipe it with a paper towel and place back on the burner at medium heat.
- Shake a couple of tablespoons of flour into the fry pan.
- Take the ¼ stick of butter and swirl it around the fry pan with the flour.
- Â Add ¼ cup of the oyster liquid to the butter and whisk together.
- Â Add the wine, broth and dash of nutmeg and whisk until it looks like a smooth sauce.
- Â Gently fold your oysters back into this sauce for about a minute or so.
- Plate them and add the bread crumbs around the edge of the dish.