Olympia Biscuits

James Beard

Author and Educator

Named after Olympia oysters from Washington’s Puget Sound, these fried oyster sandwiches could easily find a home on any trendy menu today. Since few oysters are as small as Olympias, we adjusted the recipe so that it yields slightly larger canapés than those that Beard described. You should still seek out oysters that are on the smaller side, such as Kumamotos, when making the recipe.


Baking Powder Biscuits:
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter or other shortening
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Fried Oysters:
  • Meat from 12 small oysters
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 450°F. Sift flour, measure it, add baking powder and salt, and sift again into a mixing bowl. Work in butter or other shortening with your fingers until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. Add milk to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board. Knead for a minute and roll or pat out to 3/4-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cutter to cut out the biscuits. Dip each biscuit in melted butter and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment, spacing them about an inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, dip oysters in the beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, quickly fry the coated oysters until golden brown, about one minute per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with lemon juice and chopped parsley. Place each oyster in a hot biscuit that has been split and buttered.


12 small sandwiches