Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Rosie Makes Fried Oysters.


  The Hawthornes love their oysters.  And we eat 'em every which way.  Raw, steamed, dipped in melted butter and lemon juice, on the half shell with oh-so-many different toppings, and ... FRIED.


 Here's our goal.

Here are the step-by-steps:

 Lightly batter.                                                                  

Don't crowd the pan.  Leave space.

Golden brown.  Should only take a minute.

 Drain on rack.
Serve with your own cole slaw, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce.
Suggestions below.

Today, it's fried oysters with a cranberry and apple cole slaw that's perfectly sweet and tangy.  And I have two dipping sauces - Rosie's special tartar sauce and her go-to cocktail sauce.

Everything's on the fly today.  I don't measure anything.  I just throw stuff together and it works, but I wrote down approximations of everything right after I put it all together and this should work for you.  This isn't a science or chemistry, like baking a cake.  This is in-the-ballpark cooking.  Don't sweat it.  Taste test and adjust for yourself.

For the cole slaw:
3-4 cups finely chopped cabbage 
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (I used an orange one to match the carrots.)
1/2 apple, small dice
handful or so of dried cranberries
Mix all together.

1/3 - 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TB tsp sugar
1 TB cider vinegar 
2 TB buttermilk
Mix all ingredients until smooth.
Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Pour over cole slaw mix and toss to coat evenly.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Stir well before serving.

Rosie's Tartar Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TB sour cream
2 tsp Lea & Perrins
2 tsp lemon juice
1 TB dill salad cubes
2-3 TB sweet relish
1 tsp Gray Poupon Dijon mustard (Do not substitute a generic brand.)
Mix all ingredients.
Add a few shakes of Sriracha sauce for pops of flavor.

Rosie's Cocktail Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup 
2 TB horseradish
1 TB Lea & Perrins
1 TB lemon juice
Sorta/kinda mix together, but not so that it's thoroughly blended.  I like to have what I call "pockets of flavor."

Now, as to the cole slaw, the tartar sauce, and the cocktail sauce ...  taste test.  My measurements are not etched in stone.  Add more or less of whatever ingredients.  Adapt it to your tastes.  Make it yours.

For the oysters:
Breading mixture: 
1 cup flour
1 cup corn starch
1/4 cup cornmeal  Or, you could just use panko.  But I'm always up for something different.
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
about 1/4 sleeve of Saltine crackers,  crushed
Mix all ingredients.  Toss in oysters and shake to coat.
Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet (mine was 12-inch diameter) to 350° - 375°.  Place breaded oysters in hot oil ONE AT A TIME being careful not to crowd the skillet.  You don't want the temperature of the oil to drastically reduce.  This is where greasy fried food comes from.  You want to maintain the temperature of the oil and give what you're frying plenty of breathing/frying space.  I fried 6-8 oysters at a time.  At maybe 45 seconds, start turning the oysters over.  This should take about 30 seconds, by which time the oysters are ready to come out of the oil.  They should be a lovely golden brown.  Place on a rack to drain.
Rosie Note:  Get an instant read laser thermometer.  It takes all the guesswork out of frying. Make it easy on yourself.

Serve oysters with the cole slaw and the two dipping sauces.



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