**The following script and recipe is from the bestselling cookbook: Edwardian Cooking - 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals. The book is available at all bookstores worldwide and from on-line retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart, etc.**
Surrounding Great Britain you have the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the English Channel, so one might wonder why during the Edwardian era seafood was not as popular as it might have been at the abbeys. The easy answer to this is it was a commoner's food and the lords and ladies had a reputation to uphold. When seafood was served at the abbeys, it was usually a memorable dish such as Royal Oyster Loaf.
When the cook of the abbeys prepared this dish it was done one of two ways: It was either made as individual servings or it was made to be carved and served. If the dinner included special guests, it would be individual and served as one of the three courses. If the dinner was just family, it was made larger, portioned at the table, and would be the only course aside from dessert.
At the abbey, only freshly shucked oysters would be used for this dish. Because fresh oysters cannot be found in every market today, the whole oysters that come in jars can be used. The bread bowl for this dish was made from scratch at the abbey. They simply made the breads they were used to making yet as small loaves. A perfect bread for this would be Abbey Country Wheat Bread (the recipe in the book). You can also buy small individual round loaves at most markets with a bakery section.
Ingredients needed to make Royal Oyster Loaf (serves 4):
- 1 round loaf of bread (or four small ones for individual servings)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 pound oysters (this does not include the weight of the shell)
- 1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 Tbs. heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice off the top (crown) of the bread and set aside. Remove the innards (dough) of the bread to leave a shell. Make sure the bread is stable as this will be filled.
- Brush the inside of the bread with the melted butter.
- Place the bread into the oven and bake (toast) 10 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and set aside.
- If the oysters are the jar variety, pat them dry. If they are freshly shucked, check to make sure no shells are in the crevices of the meat.
- Dredge (coat) the oysters in the dried bread crumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and cream.
- Dip the dredged oysters into the egg mixture and then dredge once again in the bread crumbs.
- In a medium saute pan, heat 1-inch of oil over medium heat.
- Carefully add the oysters and fry a few minutes per side until they are golden in color.
- Fill the hollowed bread with a layer of oysters followed with a layer of Cheddar cheese, a layer of oysters, the remaining cheese, and the remaining oysters.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the top layer of the oysters, put the crown on the bread and serve.
The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."