Since it's the first Tuesday in September an "r" month I thought I'd post some recipes for Oysters. In case you are unaware you don't want to eat or harvest oysters during months that don't have an 'r' according to some 19th Century sayings.
Raw Oysters.—Eat raw oysters as plain and as free from
condiments as possible, and always on the deep shell in their own liquor. The average American orders a dozen on the half-shell and then drowns his pets in vinegar, pepper, salt, horse-radish, etc., washing them down with some malt beverage, pays his check, and disappears. The next day he goes through the same performance, and the not over-conscientious oyster-man, knowing his weakness for condiments, can easily palm off on him a "Eockaway Cull" for a Blue Point or a Green Point, or he may give him a "deep-water native " for almost any particular kind or brand he may want, and he cannot detect the difference in their flavor, owing to his excessive use of condiments. A little lemon-juice is all that is necessary, if you will not eat your saline dainties natural.
The heartless oyster-fiend who opens your oysters by smashing the shell should be avoided, for it is crueltv, to say the least. We can forgive him for spattering our clothing with shells, mud, and dirty water, but filling our mouths with these things is pure ugliness. Order a quart of the hivalves to be sent home, and this oyster-butcher endangers the health of your family should any of them swallow a particle of the shell. The true lover of an oyster should have some feeling for his little favorite, and patronize establishments only where they contrive to open thorn (Boston fashion) so dexterously that the mollusk is hardly conscious he has been removed from his lodging "till he feels the teeth of the piscivorous gourmettickling him to death."
Roast Oysters on half-shell.—Open a dozen large oysters on deep shell; add a walnut of butter, with a little salt and mixed pepper (red and black) and a pinch of cracker-dust to each. Place them on a broiler over a sharp, clear fire until done, and serve.
Families not having all the conveniences for roasting oysters "restaurant fashion " will find the above receipt acceptable; though I must confess it is quite a treat to our Western cousins to ask them down into the kitchen of an evening, and serve up a peck of oysters roasted in the shell direct from the fire, with no other tool to pick them out of the coals than the old tongs the moment they pop open. You may possibly burn a finger or two, but what of that so long as the young folks have had a good time?
Oysters escalloped.—In a deep yellow dish place a layer of oysters and cover them with cracker-dust (add an ounce of butter to each layer of cracker-dust); pepper and salt to taste; another layer of oysters, another of cracker-dust, and Bo on until the dish is full. Moisten the dish with the juice of the oysters or hot water to prevent its burning, and bake a nice brown.
Oyster Patties.—Poll out some very light puff paste half an inch thick; stamp it in rounds with a cutter three inches in diameter; press a small cutter two inches in diameter on the middle of each to the depth of a quarter of an inch. Place the rounds on a buttered tin, baste them lightly with egg, and bake in a quick oven. "When done take them out, remove the centre-piece, scoop out a little of the inside, and fill the shells with the prepared oysters.
Parboil twenty-five oysters in their own liquor; remove the oysters and season the liquid with lemon-peel, nutmeg, and pepper; strain, and thicken with a heaping tablespoonful of flour, one and a half ounces of butter, a wineglassful of rich cream; mix, and then add the oysters. Simmer all together a few minutes, fill the shells, and serve.
Scallops and clams cut up fine, with a sauce made on the same principle, make a very nice patty.
Oyster toast.—Select fifteen plump oysters; mince them, and season with mixed pepper and a pinch of nutmeg; beat the yolks of four eggs and mix them with half a pint of cream. Put the whole into a saucepan and set it over the fire to simmer till thick; stir it well, and do not let it boil lest it should curdle. Toast five pieces of bread and butter them; when your dish is near boiling-point remove it from the fire and pour it over the toast.
Fried oysters.—Beat up the yolks of four eggs with three tablespoonf uls of sweet oil, and season them with a teaspoonf til of salt and a salt-spoonful of cayenne pepper; beat up thoroughly. Dry twelve fat oysters on A napkin; dip them in the egg-batter, then in cracker-dust; shake off the loose cracker-dust, dip them again in the egg-batter, and lastly roll them in fine bread-crumbs. iVy in very hot fat, using fat enough to cover them. The oil gives them a nice flavor(Private receipt of a prominent Philadelphia caterer.)
Broiled oysters.—Rub the bars of a wire broiler with a little sweet butter. Dry twelve large, fat oysters and place them upon the broiler plain. Broil them over a clear fire, and when done on both sides send to table on a piece of buttered toast, with a little melted butter in a separate dish. Should you hanker after a delightful case of dyspepsia cover them with egg-batter and roll them in crumbs before broiling.
Oysters a la Poulette.—Blanch a dozen oysters in their own liquor; salt and remove the oysters; add a tablespoonful of butter, the juice of half a lemon, a gill of cream, and a teaspoonful of flour. Beat up the yolk of one egg while the sauce is simmering; add the egg, and simmer the whole until it thickens. Place the oysters on a hot dish, pour the sauce over them, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top, and send to table. (This is a favorite dish of Hotel Brunswick habitues in New York.)