This section is from the book "A Book Of Recipes For The Cooking School", by Carrie Alberta Lyford. Also available from Amazon: A book of recipes for the cooking school.
Oysters are in season from September to May - through the months containing "r." In the summer months the oysters are spawning and are not considered good.
Oysters are often "fattened" or "soaked" in fresh water before being sent to market. This involves a loss in nutritive value. Along the coast oysters are sold in the shell. For shipping some distance the shells are usually opened and the oysters packed in bulk, sealed and surrounded by ice for shipping. Some are packed in tin boxes. Oysters must always be kept very cold.
The oysters are always considered best if bought in the shell where it is possible to obtain them in that way. Blue points are a small oyster raised on Long Island, thought to have an especially fine flavor. Bulk oysters are good for stews, scallops, and creamed oysters. Select oysters, those large in size, are best for frying.
The oyster consists of a soft portion or body which is principally the liver (glycogen) and a tough portion, or muscle, and is surrounded by gills. The entire body is used for food.
After oysters have been removed from the shell, they should always be carefully picked over to remove any small pieces of shell and should be well-washed. If the juice is to be served, it should be strained through a cheese cloth.
Purpose of cooking oysters:
1 To make them more attractive.
2 To develop flavor.
3 To make them more wholesome.
Methods of cooking include broiling, pan-broiling, frying, stewing, creaming, scalloping.
Oysters should be cooked a very few minutes. Test - when the body looks plump and the edges curl. If oysters are cooked too long, the flavor is lost and the muscle becomes tough.
Appropriate garnishes for oysters are lemon, parsley, celery, and such relishes as catsup and horse-radish.
2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Cayenne 1 pint or 30 oysters
Place all the ingredients, except the oysters, in a chafing dish or covered sauce-pan. When hot add the oysters, cover and shake the pan occasionally. When the oysters are plump and edges curl, drain them and place them where they will keep hot. Add enough cream to the liquid in the pan to make 1 cup and use this for the sauce.
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour Salt and pepper
1 cup cream and oyster
liquid 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 egg
Cook the ingredients, except the egg and lemon juice, as a white sauce. Beat the egg until light, and pour the hot sauce gradually over it. Add the oysters and lemon juice, and when hot serve on toast or in patty-dishes. Serves 6 to 8.
1 1/2 tablespoons butter 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cream or milk 1/4 cup oyster juice Salt and pepper
6 slices of toast
Wash, drain, and dry the oysters. Grease a griddle or oyster broiler with 1 teaspoon butter. When hot put in oysters and turn when the edges curl. Remove the oysters to a hot plate, melt remainder of butter, add flour and seasonings and then liquid. When well-cooked add oysters. Serve hot on toast.
Large Oysters Egg
Dried bread crumbs (sifted and seasoned) Fat for frying (lard and beef drippings)
Select large oysters, remove pieces of shell, wash, and wipe them dry, season with salt and pepper, roll in bread crumbs and flour, dip in egg (beaten with 1 tablespoon water or oyster juice), and again in crumbs. Fry in deep fat 1 minute, drain, garnish and serve.
1 pint or 30 oysters 3 cups bread crumbs 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup oyster juice
Wash the oysters with cold water in a colander, and remove pieces of shell with the fingers. Strain the juice, which is to be used, through a cheesecloth.
Melt the butter, add the crumbs and seasonings.
Line the bottom of a buttered baking dish with 1/4 the crumbs and then add 1/2 the oysters.
Add 1/4 more crumbs and the remainder of the oysters and the oyster juice. Cover with the buttered crumbs. Bake in a moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes.
If baked in individual dishes, 4 cups crumbs and 4 teaspoons butter should be used and the oysters should be cut up. Bake 15 minutes. Serves 6 or 8.