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Fried Oysters with Spicy Rémoulade

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Out of all the attempts to present an exciting easy-to-eat hors d’oeuvre, few please quite like these, simple, crisp, yet juicy morsels of, as Pat Conroy says, “the sea made flesh.” We serve fried oysters “in the shell,” with the sauce resting in the bottom and the oyster sitting on top. Pass the oysters while they are still warm, and enjoy immediately!

To Drink: Sancerre, Delaporte Pouilly-Fumé, Gaudry

Serves4

Cooking Methodfrying

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCocktail Party, game day

Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationsoy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, hot & spicy, juicy, salty, savory, umami

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Homemade Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon coarse mustard, such as Pommery
  • ¼ cup chopped rinsed capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cornichons
  • 1 teaspoon chopped anchovy
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped blend of two herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chives, chervil, and/or tarragon
  • 1 scant tablespoon finely diced shallot or grated onion
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 24 oysters, such as Apalachicola, Chesapeake, or bluepoint, shucked, bottom shells reserved, scrubbed and dried (if you have the fishmonger shuck the oysters, be sure to have him save the b

Instructions

Put the mayonnaise in a medium bowl, add the mustard, capers, cornichons anchovy, herbs, shallot, paprika, hot sauce, vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over high heat until it registers 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper, and cayenne in a shallow bowl. Put the buttermilk in another shallow bowl and add the oysters. One by one, transfer the oysters from the buttermilk to the cornmeal mixture, turning to coat thoroughly, and place the oysters on a rack set over a small baking sheet.

Place a spoonful of the rémoulade in each clean oyster shell and arrange on a serving platter.

Carefully drop the oysters, in batches of about 6 at a time, into the hot oil and cook, turning once or twice, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Place the fried oysters in the shells and serve.

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