Deviled Oysters (1949)

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Deviled Oysters (1949)

By the 1940s and ’50s Yankee’s commitment to home and good cooking were already firmly in place. Nancy Dunn wrote a regular column, “Thoughts About Food & Household,” offering all manner of advice, from recipes to tips on cleaning. Her simple oyster dish, presented here, is a winner. We added the salt mixture to make the baking a little easier (otherwise, we found that the shells tended to tumble over).

Total Time: 45
Yield: 2 dozen oysters


  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (approx.) water
  • 24 fresh oysters
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs (such as saltines)


Heat oven to 450°. In a large bowl, mash together salt and water to form a sandy consistency. Set aside.

Shuck oysters and remove from shells. Reserve oysters and "bottom" shells; scrub shells well and let dry.

In a medium-size saute pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter and cook onion until tender. Add chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and pepper. Cook 1 minute; then remove to a mixing bowl. Let cool. Mix in eggs and cracker crumbs.

Place 1/4 teaspoon of the remaining butter into each reserved shell. Place a raw oyster into each shell and cover with crumb mixture.

On a rimmed baking sheet, lay out some of the salt mixture in 3 strips, each one 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Place oysters on top of salt. Bake about 10 minutes, until crumb mixture is browned and oysters just cooked through. Make a bed of salt mixture on a serving plate and nestle hot oyster shells in it. Serve immediately.

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