Friday, December 26, 2008

Simple, Perfect, Deep Fried Oysters

Deep fried oysters, dipped in nothing but cornmeal and quick fried in a deep fryer - simple and perfect.

Deep Fried Oysters

I can still see my Daddy sitting in the garage at the home where I grew up, planted on a chair, sack of oysters between his knees, and that blunt shucking knife in his hand. I'd go out to watch him, more out of curiosity really than anything, because I certainly had no interest in those things at all. He'd work the knife around the edges of the shell, pop it open, tossing the shells into a bucket and adding one oyster after the other to a tall jar, along with the juices from the bottom shell. He got into an uninterrupted rhythm, and every once in awhile, he'd plop one of them right in his mouth, raw.

I did not at all understand the appeal, back then. Daddy would pass one of those oysters right up under my nose trying to convince me to try one and I would scowl as most teenagers at the thought. He finally aggravated me enough that I gave in and it was a love affair that slowly grew on me. I can't even imagine how many oysters I've consumed over my lifetime, watching them be shucked fresh onto an ice filled tray by the dozen, served with crackers, hot sauce and cocktail sauce, with a side of horseradish to stir in. Salty and sweet and fresh right out of our Gulf, I still prefer them on the smaller side myself, but I'll eat them however I get them so long as they are out of our Gulf.

When I shopped the other day I picked up some of those packaged fresh Gulf oysters - which I had purchased with no specific plan for them other than knowing I'd soon be in the mood for something different. If I would have had some fresh French bread, I would have made that into an oyster po'boy for sure! But, no worries, plain ole sandwich bread will do the trick, or even leftover buns, so I buttered 'em up, toasted them in a pan and piled on the fried oysters.

One pint of oysters is only good for about 2 people who love oysters. Any more folks than two and ya better pick up another pint or so. I use plain corn meal, no flour, least not for this way of eating them. You'll notice that I don't season the cornmeal either. I generally find our oysters to be plenty salty all on their own, so I don't even add Cajun seasoning. Only cornmeal, straight up, simple and perfect.

Pass the cocktail sauce and the hot sauce at the table.

Recipe: Deep Fried Oysters

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min |Yield: About 2 to 4 servings

  • 1 pint of raw Gulf oysters, well drained (do not rinse)
  • About 2 cups of yellow corn meal
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot pepper sauce and cocktail sauce, for the table, optional

Preheat the deep fryer to 375 degrees F. Roll the oysters in the unseasoned corn meal and drop immediately into the hot oil, frying until crisp and golden brown, only a few minutes. As soon as you pull them out, sprinkle on some salt and fresh ground pepper. Nothing to it, but oh so good.

Cook's Notes: Our Gulf oysters are good and salty, so no seasoning is needed, other than a sprinkling of salt and pepper as soon as they come out of the fryer. If you're using another source of oysters, smell them. If they don't have the smell of the salty ocean to them, you'll probably want to season your dredge with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.

If you don't happen to own a deep fryer I highly recommend getting one if you have the space for it. It fries up food quickly and if you don't overuse your oil, you'll find fried foods to be much lighter - meaning much less greasy when using a deep fat fryer. I own this one - it's the one I use all the time and I love it - but, you can certainly fry these up in an cast iron skillet or some other heavy bottomed frying pan too.


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Posted by on December 26, 2008
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  1. Replies
    1. Hi Bill and welcome! I don't think you've ever commented before, but with all due respect, bland is on you - not me!! I don't know where you are from, but if you knew anything about me, you'd know that I live on the Gulf Coast and our oysters are pretty salty. If you're using oysters from elsewhere, I can't speak to how to season those, but you can generally smell whether they are salty or not. You need to season them straight out the fryer, or add seasoning to your dredge. We don't need it for Gulf oysters.


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