When I sat down early in 2013 and looked over the list of recipes from the Northeast I had yet to make, it seemed like a doable list. There were some 80 recipes on the list. Unfortunately, I have been making very slow progress. Even though I cook and blog, I do not focus on the Northeast. It's a three part problem. A. I can't get the ingredients. (I may never make sauteed dandelion flowers.) B. There's the shellfish problem. My husband doesn't eat shellfish, and is rebelling against having a separate dinner cooked for him. C. The recipes are seasonal. I have two Christmas pudding recipes, which I guess I can get cranked out by the first of the year, but I'm not making them in October.
Well, Wednesday night, my son and daughter-in-law came over. I was able to cross one lowly item off the list, Fried Oysters. I love oysters. I confess that I first tasted them as a teenager in the Harvard Club in New York City and have been hooked on them ever since. I even risked getting beaten up for them. Here's the story.
One foggy winter day back in the 70s, Bob and I were cruising around the less fashionable parts of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Down somewhere south of St. Michael's, we came upon a roadside diner with a hand lettered sign. "Oysters," it said.
"Yahoo," I said, and proceed to make a u-turn and park. We blithely walked in the door and stopped short. Even I, the oblivious one, could see that this was a mistake. The place had been taken over by what looked like a gang of Hell's Angels. They were drinking at 11:30 am, shouting at the one rundown looking waitress, and shooting pool. They hit the cue ball so hard the balls jumped off the table. What to do?
The obvious choice was to run like crazy. But, this did not seem like such a great idea. I did not want to be picked up by the scruff of the neck by some drunken, enraged biker inquiring why I did not care for his company. So we sidled into a booth, slid down in the seats so as to make ourselves invisible, and ordered our oysters in a whisper. When they came, we bolted them down and got the hell out of there.
These fried oysters are supposed to be deep fried. Well, when I was copying down the ingredients, I failed to check for oil. We were, in fact, nearly out of oil. It was like the legend of Hanukkah, except that the oysters did not fry for nine nights. Instead of being deep fried, these were sauteed, I guess. But they were good. Plump, moist, yum, yum yum. My son and I ate an entire 16 ounce jar of fried oysters between us. His wife tried one, praised it and left most of it on her plate. This woman is a trooper.
2 twelve ounce containers oysters with liquor or about 36 shucked, fresh oysters with liquor
1 1/2 cups dry bread crumbs. (I used gluten free breadcrumbs, available at Giant Food)
1 1/2 cups flour. (I used Bob's Red Mill Rice Flour, available at Safeway and other locations.)
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
fat or oil for deep frying.
lemon wedges or tartar sauce
1. Drain the oysters
2 Combine the bread crumbs and flour.
3. Combine the milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
4. Roll the oysters in crumb mixture, then in egg mixture and again in the crumb mixture.
5. Fry a few at a time, two to three minutes or until they are golden, in a fry basket, in fat or oil heated to 350 degrees. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges or tartar sauce. Makes six servings.