Crave the Louisiana waterfront? Try this Oyster Po’ Boy
This Oyster Po’ Boy will transport you to a warm afternoon by the Louisiana waterfront.
A po’ boy is a Louisiana-style sandwich of meat, fish, or shellfish on soft but crusty French bread. We won’t be so bold as to say what should be on a po’ boy, because from town to town, and even block to block, the rules shift. But in general, po’ boys are dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, and maybe mayonnaise, mustard and pickles.
Fat and crunchy fried oysters are a natural po’ boy filling because they are abundant in the warm waters of the Gulf, making them readily available and inexpensive. Even if you’re not an oyster person, a fried oyster is really a horse of a different colour. Cooked oysters lose the slimy quality that people usually complain about. Coated in a crunchy, golden-brown cornmeal coating, they become downright tender and sweet.
Just like wine and cheese, oysters are a product of their terroir, meaning the environment in which they grow and live. Water temperature, local ecology, and even weather can influence the texture and flavour of the oyster, meaning that an oyster harvested from the Pacific Northwest will be notably different than ones harvested in the Gulf or off the coast of New England.
“Oysters from the colder north waters tend to be very complex and briny in flavour, while the West Coast oysters tend to be fruity and floral, almost cucumber-like in flavour, and the Southern oysters tend to be the least flavourful,” said the Culinary Institute of America’s chef-instructor, Gerard Viverito.
Oyster Po’ Boy MAKES 4 SERVINGS
3 cups cornmeal ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed 1 tsp Creole seasoning 1 tsp ground black pepper, plus more as needed 1 quart shucked oysters, well-drained Vegetable oil, as needed for frying 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed ½ cup NOLA Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows) 4 French bread rolls, about 6 inches each, split 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1 head lettuce, shredded Salt and pepper as needed
Start to finish: 45 minutes In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, Creole seasoning, and pepper.
Add the oysters and toss until well-coated.
Fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan with about 2 inches of oil. Over medium heat, bring the oil to about 350 F. Working in batches, fry the oysters until they are golden brown all over, about three minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked oysters to a paper-towel-lined tray.
Carefully lower the lemon slices into the hot oil and fry until the white pith begins to brown, two to three minutes. Transfer to the towel-lined tray.
Spread about 2 tablespoons of NOLA sauce on one half of each roll. Evenly distribute the fried oysters, lemon, tomatoes, and lettuce between the rolls and sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.
NOLA Remoulade Sauce MAKES 8 SERVINGS
8 cornichons 2 teaspoons capers 2 green onions, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp Creole mustard or a whole grain mustard 1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley 1 cup mayonnaise ½ tsp paprika 1 tsp hot sauce Kosher salt, to taste Ground black pepper, to taste
In a food processor, combine the cornichons, capers, green onion, lemon juice, mustard, and parsley. Pulse until finely chopped.
Add the mayonnaise, paprika, and hot sauce. Pulse to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Use immediately or refrigerate in a covered container until needed.
Per serving: 863 calories (266 from fat); 30 grams fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 111 milligrams cholesterol; 1640 mg sodium; 122 g carbohydrate; 10 g fibre; 6 g sugar; 29 g protein.
Po’ boy: a Louisiana-style sandwich of meat, fish or shellfish on soft but crusty French bread.