Hundred-Year-Old “New” Scalloped Oysters Recipe

Scalloped Oysters are a classic holiday dish, so I was curious when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for “new” Scalloped Oysters, that called for tomatoes and corn in addition to the usual bread or cracker crumbs.

The old, “new” twist adds interest to this traditional dish. “New” Scalloped Oysters were colorful, flavorful, and easy to make.

Source: Good Housekeeping (April, 1917)
Source: Good Housekeeping (April, 1917)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

'New' Scalloped Oysters

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (I used bread crumbs.)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 pint shucked oysters (drain-though it’s okay if there is still some liquid clinging to the oysters.)

1/2 cup stewed or canned tomatoes

2/3 cup corn (if using frozen corn, cook and drain)

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 1-quart casserole dish. Put 1/3 of crumbs in bottom of dish. Lay 1/2 of the oysters on crumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with small pieces of 1 tablespoon of butter. Add layers of tomatoes and corn, using 1/2 of each.  Repeat with layers of bread crumbs, oysters (sprinkled with salt and pepper and dotted with 1 tablespoon of butter), tomatoes, and corn.

In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet.  Gently stir in the remaining 1/2 cup crumbs; continue gently stirring until the bread crumbs are coated with melted butter. Remove from heat.  Put the buttered crumbs on top of the previously assembled layers in the casserole dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Old-time Oyster Fritters Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, December 3, 1912:  Nothing much to write.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share an old recipe for Oyster Fritters with you.

Oysters were a very popular late fall food in central Pennsylvania years ago.  Even though the area is about 150 miles from the Chesapeake Bay—it is within a day’s train trip from the Bay; and shellfish, even a hundred years ago, were regularly transported into the area.

I have wonderful memories of eating Oyster Fritters when I was a child—and still make them once or twice each year whenever I’m able to find oysters for sale in my local supermarket.

Oyster Fritters

1 pint oysters, drained and coarsely chopped

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup shortening or lard

Mix all ingredients except shortening together. Melt shortening in a skillet. Drop oyster mixture by tablespoonfuls into the hot shortening. Fry until lightly browned; flip and cook other side. Drain on paper towels.