“Any good kitchen should be stocked up in oysters, shouldn’t they?”
— Michael Fassbender (actor, producer, bivalve eater)
On the drive south from a weekend in Sonoma, my love and I decided to make a quick stop for Pacific oysters at a seafood wholesaler. A short time later, we were back home with an abundance of the sweet treats and set about to shucking and slurping. A bottle of sparkling accompanied the first dozen, and then we decided to try our hand at po-boys. With a glance at a few recipes online, I found a good one by Sunny Anderson. We added our own flourish of spices, a spicy homemade slaw, and replaced the bread with homegrown romaine lettuce (I usually throw the bread away, anyway). The result was a tasty take on a Cajun staple.
Bunless Oyster Po Boys with Homemade Slaw and Remoulade sauce
makes 4 wraps (2 wraps per serving)
Prep Time: 45 min (may vary with shuck time)
Cook: 10 min
This was my first attempt at shucking. I was a bit intimidated, so I watched a short video while my fella prepared my tools. Then with his direction and patience, I was able to successfully open an oyster without damaging the oyster (or myself). There are many online videos, but I highly recommend this very quick one.
You will need 20 medium sized Pacific oysters for a moderate serving (10 oysters per person). Drain the oysters and place them in a small bowl. Cover with 1 cup milk and let soak for 10 minutes. As I noted, it always helps to shuck a few extra to pair with a glass of sparkling wine while you cook.
The slaw is extra tasty if given time to rest in the refrigerator. It can be made the day ahead if necessary.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s Organic)
1 small garlic clove, diced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 small head of napa cabbage (enough for 2 cups)
1 fennel bulb (enough for 1 cup)
3 medium carrots (I used multi-colored)
1 small red onion
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
In a food processor, use the slicing blade to shred the cabbage, fennel bulb, carrot, and onion. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, mustard, vinegar, garlic and seasonings. Stir in mayonnaise. Add the vegetables to the sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the sauce and oysters.
THE REMOULADE SAUCE
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Tapatio hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Vegetable oil for frying (approximately 4 cups depending in pot size)
1 medium-sized brown paper bag
20 medium sized Pacific oysters (shucked)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
8 large romaine lettuce leaves
In a medium bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of milk, water, paprika, cayenne and eggs. In the brown paper bag, put the flour, cornmeal, black pepper, and salt. Close and shake to mix.
In a medium, heavy pot with high sides, add enough oil to fill the pan about to 2″ deep. Heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 360°F. Drain the oysters from the milk. In batches dip the oysters in the egg mixture then drop in the paper bag. Close and shake. Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the oysters. Carefully add to the hot oil in batches, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes.. Do not overcrowd. Cook turning once until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove the oysters with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining oysters.
Place two whole lettuce leaves on the plate. Spoon a generous amount of slaw and remoulade sauce on the inside. Top with 5 oysters per leaf. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over oysters just before serving. Eat as a wrap or with fork and spoon.