How To Handle a Hankering for Fried Oysters
I recently returned from spending a week in Seattle. I go there often and I just can’t imagine ever going up there without getting my fried oyster fetish on. I really ought to do a little research and see just how bad fried oysters are for you because I am pretty sure that they are not all that good for you….nothing that tastes that good ever is.
Well, leaving all of the nutritional worries behind, there are few things in this world that I get the hankering for more than fried oysters…especially those from up in the Puget Sound.
Oysters pulled from the local Northwest waters in and around the area are nicely sized… about the size of a half-dollar, plump and springy, briny, but sooooo creamy. Even after a quick deep-frying these oysters still have all of their highly sought-after qualities. The water in the area is so cold that oysters are safely eaten all year round, and they are served so many ways. I’ve enjoyed fried oysters as appetizers at upscale restaurants where they pair them with a fancy “caper-aioli something,” or a “mignonette” (playing on raw oysters). They serve them on French buns with “comeback sauce” for a traditional Po-boy style sandwich. Oysters are plunked down on Caesar salads, served as entrees with chips and a good slaw on the side, and, oh–my-word, have you had a fried oyster and bacon omelet? I will admit that my favorite way to eat them, though, is at the Pike Place Market, where they are served streetside in a paper cup over a handful of hand-cut French fries and topped with a dollop of tartar and cocktail sauce.
There are not a lot of places that sell fried oysters in San Diego, so I find that a trip to Point Loma Seafood or ordering them from Catalina Offshore and making them at home is often in order.
This weekend I got in some pretty little Penn Cove oysters. I had some beautiful brioche buns that Shelby had baked down at Bake Sale Bakery, and I made an outstanding down and dirty tartar sauce. All together now…for some mighty fine oyster sliders.
Fried Oyster Sliders with Dill Pickle Tartar Sauce
1 Pint Oysters, preferably no larger than a half dollar.
2 ½ Cups Fine cornmeal
1 Pint Buttermilk
2 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
1 TBS Creole Seasoning
1 TSP Cornstarch
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
Pour the buttermilk into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Place all dry ingredients in a shallow bowl (I like to use a pie plate), blend to combine with a fork.
Pat the oysters dry on a paper towel and drop a few at a time into the buttermilk. Retrieve with a slotted spoon to allow to drain well. Drop the oysters in the dry mix and shake around to evenly coat. Drop the oysters in small batches in a deep fryer or a heavy pot with at least 4 inches of oil heated to 375 degrees. Cook until golden brown about 60-90 seconds.
Drop onto a brown paper bag, hit with a dash of Kosher salt.
THE TARTAR SAUCE
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 ½ Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Med Shallot- minced
1 Tsp Siracha
1 TBS Dill Pickle chopped
1 TBS Capers rinsed and chopped
1 TBS Sweet Pickle chopped
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed.
Slice slider buns, place 2-3 oysters on each bun, slather with tartar sauce, top with fresh sliced tomato and a lettuce leaf.