Recipe: James A. Garfield’s pickled oysters, 1881

WHO KNEW?: These were a presidential favorite.
WHO KNEW?: These were a presidential favorite.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Servings: 8 to 10

1 quart of oysters in their liquor

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon mace

10 cloves

10 peppercorns

10 allspice berries

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, cook the oysters in their liquor over high heat until plump, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Strain and reserve the oysters, keeping the liquor in the pan.

3. Stir the vinegar, salt, mace, cloves, peppercorns, allspice berries and cayenne into the liquor and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

4. Pour the mixture over the oysters and refrigerate, uncovered, until cold. Seal and refrigerate. The oysters will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.


Each of 10 servings: 70 calories; 7 grams protein; 5 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 2 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 55 mg. cholesterol; 344 mg. sodium.