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Pecan-Crusted Oysters with Meyer Lemon Aioli

I love the versatility in taste and texture of briny Louisiana oysters. Baked, stewed, flame-grilled in their shell, or just plain raw, oysters can take on a variety of flavors. But when battered with cornmeal laced with finely ground toasted pecans, fried to a crispy golden brown, and dipped in a fragrant lemon-kissed aioli, oysters become addictive. I love the bright taste of Meyer lemon here, but regular lemon will work as well.

Serves4 to 6

Cooking MethodFrying

CostModerate

Total TimeUnder One Hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

EquipmentFood Processor

MealDinner

Ingredients

  • For the Aioli
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (23 g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (32 g) Creole mustard or other coarse-ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (2 g) finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  •  
  • For the Oysters
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup (140 g) yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (48 g) finely ground toasted pecans
  • 1 tablespoon (10 g) Cajun Seasoning Blend
  • 36 oysters in the shell
  • Meyer lemon wedges
  • Fresh rosemary sprig

Instructions

To Make the Aioli

Place the egg yolks, both mustards, garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until combined and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while processing. Use just enough of the olive oil to form a smooth emulsion and then turn off the processor. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To Make the Oysters

  1. Fill a pot halfway with oil, set over medium-high heat, and bring to 375°F (190°C).

  2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, pecans, and Cajun Seasoning Blend in a medium bowl. Add the oysters and coat on all sides with the dry mixture. Add them a few at a time to the hot oil, but do not crowd the pot. Once crispy and golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total, transfer to a paper towel–lined platter. Keep warm and repeat until all the oysters are fried.

  3. Serve immediately by mounding the oysters on a platter with a bowl of the Meyer Lemon Aioli on the side for dipping. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the oysters and garnish with the rosemary sprig.

Table Tips

  1. Toast your pecans in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, or in a 350°F (180°C) oven, until they darken slightly and smell aromatic.

  2. If you are not a fan of using raw eggs, then make this sauce by eliminating the eggs and olive oil and add the seasonings to a base of 1 cup (225 g) jarred mayonnaise.

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