Into the deep (fryer)
These crispy snacks are so delicious they’ve converted even committed oyster haters.
You’re either an oyster person or you’re not, but deep-fried oysters seem to be universal in appeal. I’ve had committed oyster haters wolf down whole plates of these after the usual initial over-dramatic scepticism. I usually don’t press the issue as it means more for the rest of us.
We are now full in the throes of oyster season. My favourites are the beauties from Mahurangi; Andrew and Lisa Hay do something very special up there. If you’re ever up in Northland, pay them a visit. Keep your eyes peeled for them – they’re available up and down the country at this time of year. If you can’t get them, the Pacific oysters in pottles will do fine.
I don’t think you need much more to go with this besides a decent blob of aioli and a cold beer.
A note on deep frying. I would recommend getting one of those dinky home deep fryers. They’re damn useful – think of the possibilities. You can use a saucepan of canola oil for this and it’s perfectly effective – you want it to be at 180C. If you don’t have a thermometer, test fry a cube of bread – if it goes golden brown in 30 seconds, it’s hot enough.
HERBY, LEMONY BATTERED OYSTERS
Prep time: 10 mins / Cook time: 5 mins Serves: 5-6 as a snack
Oil, for frying 2 cups plain flour
Generous mixed handful of rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
2 dozen oysters
2 x 330ml bottles Stella Artois or similar
Heat the oil to 180C.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, chopped herbs, a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and the lemon zest. Drain the oysters well and drop into the flour mix and coat them well. Shake any excess flour off and transfer them to a plate. Whisk the beer into the flour mix to create a runny batter.
Set up oysters and batter next to your deep fryer. Dredge the floured oysters through the batter, shaking any excess off, then drop them into the hot oil. Do this in batches, if need be. The oysters will take less than a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain before tossing in more sea salt. Cut up the lemon, squeeze a bit over the top and serve immediately.