Ragoût of Oysters

A ragoût of oysters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as first course

Appears in

Great Cooks and Their Recipes

Great Cooks and Their Recipes

By Anne Willan

Published 1977

  • About

Mrs Glasse might rail against Frenchified cooking, but like all her contemporaries, she did not go so far as to exclude fricassees, ragoûts, and other French-inspired recipes from her book. She was not familiar with a French roux and invariably thickens her sauces by a more laborious method such as the one below. Raspings are crumbs “rasped” or grated from a dry loaf of bread.

Open twenty large Oysters, take them out of their Liquor, save the Liquor, and dip the Oysters in a Batter made thus: Take two Eggs, beat them well, a little Lemon-peel grated, a little Nutmeg grated, a Blade of Mace pounded fine, a little Parsley chopped fine; beat all together with a little Flour, have ready some Butter or Dripping in a Stew-pan, when it boils, dip in your Oysters, one by one, into the Batter, and fry them of a fine brown; then with an Egg-slice take them out, and lay them in a Dish before the Fire. Pour the Fat out of the Pan, and shake a little Flour over the Bottom of the Pan, then rub a little Piece of Butter, as big as a small Walnut, all over with your Knife, whilst it is over the Fire; then pour in three Spoonfuls of the Oyster-liquor strained, one Spoonful of White Wine, and a Quarter of a Pint of Gravy; grate a little Nutmeg, stir all together, throw in the Oysters, give the Pan a Toss round, and when the Sauce is of a good Thickness, pour all into the Dish, and garnish with Raspings.


For the Batter

  • 2 oz/½ cup/60 g flour
  • 3 eggs
  • grated rind of ½ lemon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp grated mace
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

For the Ragoût

  • 4 oz/½ cup/125 g butter (for frying)
  • 1⅔ pints/1 quart/1 liter (about 2 dozen) shucked/shelled oysters, with their liquor/liquid
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 6 fl oz/¾ cup/175 ml gravy
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp browned breadcrumbs (for garnish)


  1. For the batter: sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the center and add 2 eggs. Beat to make a smooth paste, add the remaining egg with the lemon rind, nutmeg, mace and parsley and beat 1 minute. Drain the oysters, reserving the liquor/liquid.

  2. In a frying pan, melt a little of the butter, dip several of the oysters into the batter, drain them slightly and fry them over brisk heat until brown, 1-2 minutes on each side; remove them and keep warm. Fry the remaining oysters in the same way, using more butter as necessary.

  3. Sprinkle the tablespoon of flour into the pan, set it over low heat, and rub over the 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Stir in the oyster liquor/liquid with the wine, gravy and nutmeg and bring to a boil, stirring. Add the oysters and heat gently, shaking the pan to mix them with the sauce, until very hot. Note: do not overcook them or they will be tough. Taste the ragoût for seasoning, transfer it to a serving dish, sprinkle with browned breadcrumbs, and serve at once.