Large coarse oysters should never be dressed in this way. Select small plump ones for the purpose, let them be opened carefully, give them a scald in their own liquor, wash them in it free from grit, and beard them neatly. Butter the scallop shells and shake some fine breadcrumbs over them; fill them with alternate layers of oysters, crumbs of bread, and fresh butter cut into small bits; pour in the oyster-liquor, after it has been strained, put a thick, smooth layer of bread-crumbs on the top, moisten them with clarified butter, place the shells in a Dutch oven before a clear fire, and turn them often till the tops are equally and lightly browned: send them immediately to table.
Some persons like a little white pepper or cayenne, and a flavouring of nutmeg added to the oysters; others prefer pounded mace. Irench cooks recommend with them a mixture of minced mushrooms stewed in butter till quite tender, and sweet herbs finely chopped. The fish is sometimes laid into the shells after having been bearded only.
Plump and beard the oysters, after having rinsed them well in their own strained liquor; add to this about an equal quantity of very rich white sauce, and thicken it, if needful, with a half-teaspoonful of flour, mixed with a small slice of butter, or with as much arrow-root only; put in the oysters, and keep them at the point of simmering for three or four minutes; lay them into the shells, and cover the tops thickly with crumbs fried a delicate brown and well dried; or heap over them instead, a layer of fine crumbs; pour clarified butter on them, and brown them with a salamander.
Beard, rinse well in their strained liquor, and mince, but not finely, three dozens and a half of plump oysters, and mix them with ten ounces of fine bread-crumbs, and ten of beef-suet chopped extremely small; add a saltspoonful of salt, and one of pepper, or less than half the quantity of cayenne, twice as much pounded mace, and the third of a small nutmeg grated; moisten the whole with two unbeaten eggs, or with the yolks only of three, and a dessertspoonful of the whites. When these ingredients have been well worked together, and are perfectly blended, set the mixture in a cool place for two or three hours before it is used ; make it into the form of small sausages or sausage-cakes, flour and fry them in butter of a fine light brown; or throw them into boiling water for three minutes, drain, and let them become cold, dip them into egg and bread-crumbs, and broil them gently until they are lightly coloured. A small bit should be cooked and tasted before the whole is put aside, that the seasoning may be heightened if required.
The sausages thus made are very good.
Small plump oysters, 3 1/2 dozens; bread-crumbs, 10 ozs.; beef-suet, 10 ozs.; seasoning of salt, cayenne, pounded mace, and nutmeg; unbeaten eggs 2, or yolks of 3.
The fingers should be well floured for making up these sausages.
They should be large for this purpose. Simmer them for a couple of minutes in their own liquor, beard and dry them in a cloth, dredge them lightly with flour, dip them in egg and fine bread-crumbs, and fry them a delicate brown in boiling lard; or make a thick batter with eggs and flour, season it with plenty of mace and white pepper, dip the oysters in and then fry them.
Take the best oysters you can find, and dry them on a napkin; you then place them on a silver shell, made expressly for the purpose, or fine, large, deep oyster shells, which should be well cleaned, placing in them four or six oysters, according to their size; season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley, mushrooms hashed very fine, a small quantity of bread-crumbs, with which the surface of the oysters must be covered, placing on top of all a small piece of the best butter. Then put them in a hot oven, and let them remain until they acquire a golden colour Serve them hot.
The oysters should be the largest and finest you can get. Prepare your gridiron, which should be a double one made of wire, by rubbing with butter, and having placed your oysters so that they will all receive the heat equally, set them over a brisk fire, and broil both sides without burning them. Let them be served hot, with a small lump of fresh butter, pepper and salt, added to them.