This recipe comes from Whitstable Bay, famous for its oysters. Oyster loaves were sometimes served as a breakfast dish and sometimes as a side-dish at dinner. Tinned oysters can be used and crab is an excellent alternative filling. The loaves should be crisp but not hard, so that the dish can be eaten with a fork.
Cut a small slice off the top of each roll and carefully scoop out all the crumb, so that a hollow shell remains. Deep fry these shells for about 2 minutes, pressing them into the hot oil if they float. As soon as they are a pale golden brown lift them out and drain on kitchen paper for a few minutes. Sprinkle the insides with
Make a roux with the butter and flour. Add the liquor and then the cream. Bring just to the boil and stir in the oysters. Stir for 3 minutes, then lift out the oysters, cut them into dice and return them to the sauce. Stir again for 30 seconds. Put a small sprig of watercress into each hot roll, fill with the oysters and sauce and serve immediately.
©1980 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton