Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fried Oysters

It is oyster season on Solomons Island, Maryland!! To celebrate I grabbed a few freshly-shucked pints to make some of our favorite meals – and share the recipes with you!

Although perfect fried oysters are plentiful here, I have tasted my share of horrid little nuggets masquerading as oysters. This recipe is very simple and the kick of cayenne makes your tongue and toes tingle! The oysters fry up in about 2 minutes, so you can have dinner on the table in no time on a weeknight. Or make a huge batch for cocktail appetizers with neighbors on the weekend!

Fried Oysters
Courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 45, Serves 6-8

¾ cup fine-ground cornmeal
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb shucked oysters, in their liquor (about 45 oysters)
5-6 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Lemon wedges

Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place on the middle rack in the oven; warm the oven to 200 degrees. In a large, shallow dish, mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate, medium bowl, combine all oysters with their liquor (juices) and check for bits of shell. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up about 8 oysters, briefly allowing the excess liquor to drip off, and scatter them across the cornmeal mixture. Shake the dish to coat the oysters evenly with cornmeal mixture. Transfer the oysters to a second wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. Drop 1/3 of the breaded oysters (about 15 oysters) in the hot oil. Using a wire skimmer, stir and poke at the oysters as they fry to prevent them from fusing together. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 400 degrees. Remove the oysters from the hot oil with the wire skimmer when they have turned golden brown and the frying has slowed, about 2 minutes. Transfer the oysters to a plate lined with several layers of paper towel, then to the clean wire rack set over the rimmed baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Return the oil to 400 degrees and repeat with remaining oysters. Serve with lemon wedges or dipping sauce.

Fried Oysters

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