Veal and Oysters

A Dickensian dish for which there are many recipes. This one comes from North Yorkshire. Fresh oysters are difficult to obtain and very expensive, but tinned oysters or clams are cheaper and excellent. Finely sliced mushrooms make a very good and easy variation, although the flavour is, of course, quite different.


  • 4 pieces veal fillet, each 3 inches (8 cm) long, inches (6 cm) wide and ½ inch (1 cm) thick
  • 12 oysters, clams or finely sliced mushrooms
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • ¼ cup (60 g) fresh fine white breadcrumbs
  • Butter or fat for frying
  • 4 lemon slices
  • cups (3 dl) good brown gravy, into which 1 teaspoon of red-currant jelly has been stirred
  • Salt and pepper

The Batter

  • 1 cup (120 g) self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, melted
  • cup (1.5 dl) milk


First make the batter. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and beat the mixture until smooth. Beat in the butter and continue to beat while slowly adding the milk. Beat until quite smooth and covered with air bubbles.

Score each veal fillet across twice with a sharp knife and push the oysters, clams or mushrooms into the slits. Brush the meat all over with the egg and season with mace, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and press them down a little on to the meat.

Dip the fillets carefully in the batter and fry gently for about 5 minutes on each side so that the veal is cooked through inside the batter, which should be golden brown. Garnish each veal fillet with a slice of lemon and serve the gravy separately.