THE principal shell fish used are oysters, lobsters and mussels. It is absolutely imperative that oysters should be fresh and the best way to insure this, is to purchase them when possible in the shell and open them as you use them. Oysters are among the most edible of their species, and when fresh, are delicious articles of food, besides being held by some medical men as nutritious for delicate and consumptive persons. There is an old maxim that they are to be used only during the months which contain the letter "r." Wash each oyster when eaten raw, by dipping it into cold water. The juice should go through a fine sieve, which removes all shell and prevents any being found in the dishes. Lobsters are in season from March to November. They are eaten at other seasons but their meat is light and stringy. If used at other seasons it is best to get the canned lobster. Lobsters must be boiled alive else they are unwholesome. The larger they are the older they are. Mussels are not so generally liked, although growing in favor. They, too, must be eaten only during the months containing the letter "r."
Brush the shells and wash the mussels in several waters, so they will be free from grit. Put them into a deep saucepan (without water) and sprinkle a little salt over them. Spread a napkin over them in the saucepan, put the lid on, and scald them over a sharp fire. Shake them about briskly, to keep them from burning. When the shells open, take the saucepan off the fire, strain the liquor into a bowl, and take out the fish. Very carefully remove the little piece of weed which is found under the black tongue and throw it away. If the mussels are left too long on the fire they will become leathery Mrs. Croly.
Wash the oyster shells thoroughly with a brush, place them side by side in a steamer, close it well and put over a large pot of boiling water. The deep shell must be undermost in order that no juice may be wasted. As soon as the shells open, the oysters are done and should be served at once with pepper, salt, butter, and a thin slice of lemon with each oyster.
Mrs. A. Anderson.
Prepare the oysters as for steaming, then roast them over a clear fire with the large shell down. Two minutes after the shells open, the oysters are done. Take up quickly and serve in the shells on a hot platter, with pepper, salt and butter to suit the individual taste.
F. H. N.
Half a pint raw oysters, half a pint of cooked veal, one heaping table-spoonful of butter, three tablespoonfuls of cracker crumbs, the yolks of two eggs. Chop the oysters and veal very fine. Soak the crackers in oyster liquor, and then mix all the ingredients, and shape. Dip in egg and roll in cracker crumbs, and fry as usual. The butter should be softened before mixing. F. E. P.
Take one cupful of chopped fresh celery, one cup of milk, two tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of flour, one salt-spoon of salt and the fleshy part of two and one-half dozen oysters cut in small pieces. Make a white sauce by cooking the flour and butter together and adding the milk gradually; then add the oysters, salt and cook five minutes; just before serving add the celery. Serve on thin slices of toast. W. T. M.
Very thin slices of bacon are required, with the rind cut off. Pour two drops of essence of anchovy on each oyster, four drops of lemon, a very little cayenne pepper, and roll each oyster in a slice of bacon.
When you have rolled enough, skewer them and fry them. Then, when done, take each roll separately and place it on a fired crouton. These rolls must be eaten very hot. Mrs. Carrie Oliver.
Take a dish, put a layer of the oysters as free from their liquor as they can be made, and a layer of rolled crackers; another layer of oysters, another of crackers, until the dish is full. Add a little salt and pepper and pieces of butter between each layer, and moisten with cream. Bake about fifteen minutes. Mrs. Clarissa McB.
Chop one pint of oysters - canned ones do very well - and add enough milk to the liquor to make a pint, using a little cream. Make a batter by stirring it into a scant pint of flour, adding a pinch of salt and two eggs very well beaten. If half a teaspoonful of baking powder is sifted with the flour, you are sure to have pancakes light, but some cooks prefer to depend on the eggs. When the batter is perfectly smooth beat in the oysters and bake on a griddle, like any pancakes. Try one, and if too substantial add a little more milk. If you like them richer, add a table-spoonful of melted butter. Serve with toasted crackers.
Heat a piece of butter the size of a walnut in a stew-pan till it is quite brown. Drain the oysters from their liquor, adding to the butter. Salt and pepper to taste, and cook till they curl up round the edges.
Take two dozen oysters, one onion, one tablespoonful of curry-powder, one dessert-spoonful of flour, two ounces of butter and the juice of a lemon. Chop the onion up quite fine, mix the curry-powder, flour, and butter together, and put all into a stew-pan, simmering till a nice brown, stirring all the time; add the liquor of the oysters and the lemon-juice, and boil for five minutes. Put in oysters, boil up once, and serve with a dish of boiled rice. Harriet Winters.