Into the deep (fryer)

These crispy snacks are so de­li­cious they’ve con­verted even com­mit­ted oys­ter haters.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - FOOD WITH SAM MANNERING -

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

1 lemon

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.

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