Monday, May 4, 2009

Oyster Po' Boys

I noticed the farmer’s market opened again this past weekend, but I got there late. Most of the vendors had already left, and the two that were there were packing up. I promised to show up on time next weekend, but before I left, one of the vendors generously gave me two loaves of bread—a baguette and ciabatta loaf—and made my day! With my new unexpected gains, I wanted to make something really good, and decided upon oyster po’ boys.

Usually, oyster po’ boys are constructed on a hoagie roll or French bread, but I used the ciabatta loaf. I also used green leaf lettuce instead of iceberg. These sandwiches were so tasty! The fresh Chesapeake oysters were sizable and delicious, and the chipotle mayo was a perfect flavor accent.

Oyster Po’ Boys, Gourmet, October 2001

½ cup mayonnaise
1 ¼ teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 cups vegetable oil
1 large egg
¼ cup whole milk
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups cornmeal
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shucked oysters, drained (about 36)
1 (12- to 14-inch-long) loaf soft-crusted bread
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Make chipotle mayonnaise. Whisk together mayonnaise, chipotle, and lemon juice. Chill mixture, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

Heat oil in a deep heavy pot (preferably a cast-iron Dutch oven) over high heat until it registers 375°F on deep-fat thermometer, about 12 minutes.

While oil is heating, whisk together egg, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Shake cornmeal, remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and pepper in a plastic or paper bag until combined well. Working in batches, add oysters to egg mixture, then lift out, letting excess drip off, and transfer to cornmeal in bag, shaking to coat well.

Carefully transfer to oil, knocking off excess coating, and fry, turning occasionally, until golden and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining oysters in same manner, returning oil to 375°F for each batch.

Halve loaf crosswise and horizontally, cutting all the way through, and spread one cut side of each piece with mayonnaise. Sandwich oysters and lettuce between bread, pressing gently.

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