Pan-Fried Oysters with Spicy Tartar Sauce is one of many recipes that go well with drinks. Find more recipes like this in Drinkology EATS.
4 oysters per plate
Now for the main course—and the winter buffet's pièce de résistance. There are two tricks to making tender, juicy, succulent fried oysters: (1) They should be pan-fried in butter, not deep-fried; (2) they must not be overcooked. Allowing the breaded oysters to rest in the fridge for several hours before frying firms them up slightly, making them easier to handle when frying.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the cornmeal and cracker meal until well combined. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dip each oyster in the egg, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Place the coated oysters on a large platter and cover them with whatever cornmeal mixture remains after dredging. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and refrig- erate for at least 1 and up to 4 hours.
Remove the oysters from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. (Do not allow it to brown.) Pluck the oysters from the meal and place them in the pan, raising heat to medium-high. Fry them, turning once, until just done, about 2 minutes per side for large oysters. Arrange on individual plates (4 oysters per plate), garnish with pimiento strips, and serve immediately with lemon wedges and a dollop of Spicy Tartar Sauce (below).
It didn't take too much ingenuity, but James is nevertheless very proud of having invented this colorful, flavorful variation on ordinary tartar sauce. If possible, make the sauce up to a day ahead of time, which will meld the flavors and intensify the peppery hotness. Note that when seeding and mincing jalapeños, it's wise to wear rubber gloves or to sheathe your hands in plastic bags and to take the additional precaution of washing your hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water afterwards. You really don't want any of the capsaicin—that's the chemical compound that makes hot peppers hot—to remain on your fingers, lest you inadvertently touch your eye.
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
A Guide to Bar Food and Cocktail Party Fare
by James Waller and Ramona Ponce
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
55 line drawings, 384 pages; $22.50
Hardcover; ribbon marker
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2007
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