Of shell-fish the oyster is the general favorite among epicures and everyday people alike. It is more wholesome eaten raw than when cooked, the flesh being coagulated and hardened by cooking. The least digestible part is the firm hard section of muscle, by which the animal was fastened to the shell. Persons of weak digestion should reject this portion. The clam, while it may be made into various palatable dishes, is much tougher and less digestible than the oyster. As regards the crab and lobster, they are favorite epicurean dishes, but not from their digestibility, since they are unfitted for weak stomachs. Many persons of fairly good powers of digestion find the crab or lobster a heavy load upon the stomach.
Remove all bits of shell from oysters, lay them on a clean cloth, and pat them gently to dry them. Shake salt and pepper over them. Beat an egg, and stir into it one tablespoonful cold water or milk. Sprinkle some fine crumbs with salt and pepper. Dip the oysters in the crumbs, then in the beaten egg, and again in the crumbs, covering them over each time. Fry them in deep, hot fat, drain on brown paper, and serve on a hot dish.
Fried Oysters - Take large oysters from their own liquor, and dry them in a thickly folded napkin. Then heat an ounce each of. butter and lard in a thick-bottomed frying-pan. Season the oysters with pepper and salt, and dip each into egg and cracker-crumbs rolled fine, until it will take up no more. Place them in the hot grease and fry to a delicate brown, turning them with a broad-bladed knife. Serve crisp and hot. Some roll oysters in corn-meal or flour, but they are much more crisp "th egg and cracker-crumbs.
Take a tin plate half the size of an ordinary dinner plate; butter it, and cover the bottom with a puff paste, as for pies. Lay on it five or six select oysters, or enough to cover the bottom ; butter, and season with a little salt and plenty of pepper ; spread over this an egg batter, and cover with an upper crust of the paste, piercing it with a fork. Bake in a hot oven fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Repeat this process for each pie.
Drain the liquor from two quarts of oysters, mix it with a teacup-ful of hot water, season with salt and pepper, and boil in a saucepan. After it has come to a boil put in the oysters, and cook not over five minutes. Add two tablespoonfuls of butter, and when this is melted a cupful of boiling milk. Then take from the fire, and serve with oyster or cream crackers.
Broiled Oysters - Let these' be large and plump. Wipe dry, sprinkle with salt and red pepper, and broil on a small grid-iron made for this purpose. Butter the gridiron well, and have a clear, hot fire. Broil quickly, and serve hot, with a small bit of butter on each oyster.
Brown sauce for broiled oysters may be prepared as follows : Heat a cup of oyster juice; stir two tablespoonfuls butter in a 380 pan over the fire till it is a delicate brown; add four tablespoonfuls flour, and when well mixed add the oyster juice slowly, and then a cup of hot milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper, and keep over a pan of hot water till needed. A few cloves or a stick of mace may be used to flavor the sauce.