If you Google "Miss Jane Christie Hammond" you will find her wedding announcment in the November 1, 1953 edition of The News and Courier. You won't find her recipe for "Scalloped Oysters" that appears on page 66 of my yellowed and disintegrating copy of the original 1952 edition of Charleston Receipts. This recipe for Scalloped Oysters (probably called Oyster pie in the upcountry) conforms with what was served by Libba in my childhood. Libba, excellent cook that she was, was not one for cookbooks and didn't write recipes down and she may have had this recipe handed down as Miss Jane Christie Hammond may have. When Libba did consult a cookbook it was likely to be The Joy of Cooking or Charleston Receipts.
South Carolina low country Scalloped Oysters are often served as a side dish at Thanksgiving and Christmas; and Miss Jane's recipe draws rave reviews every time.
- 1 quart oysters
- 1 pint cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 salt spoons of pepper
- 2 salt spoons of mace
- salt to taste
Drain oysters and add to the liquor enough milk to make one pint. Salt to flavor and set where it will heat. Mix pepper and mace with cracker crumbs. Melt butter and add to crumbs. Put oysters and crumbs in baking dish in layers - crumbs first and then oysters. Pour the liquor over the top and bake in a moderate oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.
I use half and half instead of milk. 1 pint of cracker crumbs is 1/4 pound of plain saltine crackers. Do not increase the amount of cracker crumbs or you will waste the considerable cost of this wonderful dish. If you are not a member of the Junior Service League of Charleston you may not know what a salt spoon is - I can remember them but have none, so I googled for the equivalent measure and found that it is said to be 1/4 teaspoon. My experience is that a moderate oven is probably 325 degrees.
The amount of liquor that comes in a quart of oysters can vary. If you have more than a cup and 1/2 then reserve the excess. It is best to have at least 1/2 cup of half and half in the one pint of heating liquor. Refrigerate the excess oyster liquor. Later you can add equal part half and half, a small piece of haddock or flounder, a lobster claw or such delicacy, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of butter and warm on a very low heat and you will have a heavenly bowl of chowder.
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