To a gallon of large, fine oysters, allow one pint of cider or white-wine vinegar; one tablespoonful of salt; one grated nutmeg; eight blades of mace; three dozen cloves, and as many whole allspice; and a saltspoon even full of cayenne pepper. Strain the oyster juice, and bring to the boiling-point in a porcelain-lined kettle. Skim carefully as it boils up. Add the vinegar, and skim also, throwing in the spices and salt when it has boiled a moment. Boil all together for five minutes, and then pour over the oysters, adding a lemon cut in very thin slices. They are ready for the table next day, but will keep a fortnight or more in a cold place. If a sharp pickle is desired, use a quart instead of a pint of vinegar.
SMOTHERED OYSTERS (Maryland fashion).
Drain all the juice from a quart of oysters. Melt in a frying-pan a piece of butter the size of an egg, with as much cayenne pepper as can be taken up on the point of a penknife, and a saltspoonful of salt. Put in the oysters, and cover closely. They are done as soon as the edges ruffle. Serve on thin slices of buttered toast as a breakfast or supper dish. A glass of sherry is often added.
OYSTER OR CLAM FRITTERS.
Chop twenty-five clams or oysters fine, and mix them with a batter made as follows: One pint of flour, in which has been sifted one heaping teaspoonful of baking-powder and half a teaspoonful of salt; one large cup of milk, and two eggs well beaten. Stir eggs and milk together; add the flour slowly; and, last, the clams or oysters. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling lard. Fry to a golden brown, and serve at once; or they may be fried like pancakes in a little hot fat. Whole clams or oysters may be used instead of chopped ones, and fried singly.
TO BOIL LOBSTERS OR CRABS.
Be sure that the lobster is alive, as, if dead, it will not be fit to use. Have water boiling in a large kettle, and, holding the lobster or crab by the back, drop it in head foremost; the reason for this being, that the animal dies instantly when put in in this way. An hour is required for a medium-sized lobster, the shell turning red when done. When cold, the meat can be used either plain or in salad, or cooked in various ways. A can-opener will be found very convenient in opening a lobster.
STEWED OR CURRIED LOBSTER.
Cut the meat into small bits, and add the green fat, and the coral which is found only in the hen-lobster. Melt in a saucepan one tablespoonful of butter and a heaping tablespoonful of flour. Stir smoothly together, adding slowly one large cup of either stock or milk, a saltspoonful of mace, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Put in the lobster, and cook for ten minutes. For curry, simply add one teaspoonful of curry-powder. This stewed lobster may also be put in the shell of the back, which has been cleaned and washed, bread or cracker crumbs sprinkled over it, and browned in the oven; or it may be treated as a scallop, buttering a dish, and putting in alternate layers of crumbs and lobster, ending with crumbs. Crabs, though more troublesome to extract from the shell, are almost equally good, treated in any of the ways given.