Pecan-Crusted Oysters with Meyer Lemon Aioli
Published by Harvard Common Press
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
Total TimeUnder One Hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party
- 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
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
Fill a pot halfway with oil, set over medium-high heat, and bring to 375°F (190°C).
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.
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.
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.
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.