This section is from the book "The Epicurean", by Charles Ranhofer. Also available from Amazon: The Epicurean, a Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art.
Open the oysters carefully by inserting the blade of the knife between the shells and prying them open so as to avoid breaking and leave them in their deep shells with the liquor. Serve six or eight according to their size with a quarter of a lemon for each guest. Crackers or slices of very thin bread and butter can be served at the same time. The clams are to be treated exactly the same. A hot sauce or a shallot sauce made with finely chopped shallots mixed with salt, pepper and vinegar, or else a pimentade sauce (No. 521), can also be eaten with the oysters. They should only be opened when ready to serve and sent to the table on finely broken ice.
Blanch some large oysters, drain them well, and season with salt, pepper, fine herbs, shallots cut into very small dice and blanched, capers, minced pickled cucumbers, and lobster coral chopped up very fine. Have some thin slices of bread cut oval shaped the size of an oyster, fry in butler, place one oyster on each and cover every one of these with the chopped garnishing, finish by covering all with a mayonnaise jelly (No. 613).
These crabs are very plentiful in certain Virginia oysters. Boil some vinegar, season it with salt, whole peppers, spices, mace, cloves and bay leaf, throw the crabs into this vinegar with an equal quantity of oyster liquor, skim it carefully and remove it at the first boil, then set it away in bottles and keep them in a cool place. Serve on side dishes with slices of lemon around, and a little of their own pickle poured over.
Open some oysters, detach them from their shells, leaving them in the deep one; pour over a little incited butter mixed with chopped parsley, strew the tops with bread-crumbs and grated parmesan. and then range these shells very straight on a bed of salt spread over a baking-sheet; cook them for seven or eight minutes in a moderate oven, and after taking them out wipe the bottoms of the shells carefully, and lay them ou napkins to serve.
Poach and drain three dozen oysters; fry colorless in butter three shallots, moisten with white wine and the oyster liquor, and dilute with bechamel sauce (No. 409). Cook and despumate-thicken with egg-yolks, butter, and cream; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, stirring so that the sauce thickens properly; then add the oysters to it, and with this fill the well-cleaned, deep oyster shells; sprinkle over fried bread-crumbs and butter, then brown them in the oven.
Lay some very clean medium-sized oysters on the broiler, on the flat side of the shell; when hot, turn over and lay the hollow side to the tire until they open, then take off the flat shell and serve the oysters in the hollow one, laying a small piece of fresh butter on each.
For English style prepare the oysters as for roasted in shells, and instead of butter season them with salt, pepper, and finely chopped fresh mushrooms; add a little lean veloute sauce (No. 416) to each, bestrew with bread-crumbs fried in butter, push in the oven for a moment and serve.