Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oyster Obsession Part 2: Meat

For the next stop on my oyster obsession journey, I delved into the shell.  While the oyster meat is delicious raw, a deep fried oyster is possibly the next best thing.  And this recipe is utterly delicious.

As I trolled my new Martha cookbook and Epicurious looking for oyster ideas, I came upon the po' boy, a traditional sub sandwich from Louisiana.  Oysters are a traditional meat found in the po' boy and the recipe gave me an excuse to deep fry in the name of learning a culture's food traditions.  I love deep frying for a good reason, it's infinitely more satisfying.

The original oyster sandwich, found in New Orleans in the 1800's, was called an oyster loaf.  It was also known as a peacemaker - and man, after eating one, I totally understand how that term came about.  The po' boy is related to the peacemaker but can have lots of different meaty toppings, oyster is but one choice.

Find a link to the recipe here.

I followed the recipe to a T with the exception of using buttermilk rather than regular milk.  I also threw in some red chili flakes.  To make your oysters extra perfect, make sure you salt each topping component (the flour, egg wash and corn meal).  Keep in mind that the oysters will be sandwiched between two pieces of bread so they can handle some salt.

I also recommend prepping the oysters and letting them sit on a rack while the oil heats up.  As they sit, the outer cornmeal crust will dry a bit and will fry up extra crispy!  And extra crispy is what you want!

My final tip is to always use a thermometer when deep frying.  I guarantee, unless you are very experienced, that you will not heat the oil up enough and you will be left with little greaseballs from the sea.  This is almost always the problem with heavy deep fried food.  If it is fried properly, it should be light not greasy.  The hot oil instantly seals the outside of the food if your temperature is hot enough.  If not, then the coating just absorbs the oil.  This never tastes good.

To serve, get your favorite bread.  Traditional, Louisiana-style is a baguette with a crispy exterior and a soft interior.  You can serve it with mayo, mustard, lettuce and tomato or "undressed" with nothing but the meat (okay fine maybe a little mayo).  Straying from the path is my general rule in life so I made up a spicy soy dressing, do what will make your sandwich taste delicious.

The Verdict

You will notice that there is no picture of the completed sandwich.  I tried, I really did, but I have a rule that photography ought not to interfere with eating.  And there was no way I was setting up a photoshoot with my luscious peacemaker begging me to eat it!  Oh it was good.  The cornmeal crust was absolutely to die for.  Super crunchy, super tasty, a little spicy, perfection.  I think it's probably perfect for deep frying just about anything so check out the recipe just for that.  The oysters were from The Daily Catch and, again, were absolutely delicious.  Plump, juicy, tasty.  Go check out their store if you are a seafood lover.

Up Next?  Oyster Obsession Part 3: Brine


Shonagh explores the guts of food in An Offal Experiment.

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