Ornamental Separator

Ragoo of Oysters

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.

18th Century

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, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy“ 1796.

21st Century


  • 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


  1. Drain your oysters through a colander into a mixing bowl.
  2. Whip your eggs well in another mixing bowl.
  3. Add the lemon peel, nutmeg, mace and parsley and whisk a few times to blend seasonings.
  4. 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.
  5. Pat your oysters dry with a thin cloth so that the batter will adhere.
  6. In a fry pan put 1 stick of butter and bring heat to medium to medium high. Do not burn the butter.
  7. Dip your oysters in the batter one by one and fry them to a golden color. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  8. Pour the butter out of the pan. Wipe it with a paper towel and place back on the burner at medium heat.
  9. Shake a couple of tablespoons of flour into the fry pan.
  10. Take the ¼ stick of butter and swirl it around the fry pan with the flour.
  11.  Add ¼ cup of the oyster liquid to the butter and whisk together.
  12.  Add the wine, broth and dash of nutmeg and whisk until it looks like a smooth sauce.
  13.  Gently fold your oysters back into this sauce for about a minute or so.
  14. Plate them and add the bread crumbs around the edge of the dish.

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