Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve Fried Oysters

Another major Shaw Family Christmas tradition are my great grandfather's saltine crusted fried oysters. These delicious little guys are fried up on Christmas Eve and washed down with champagne before the big feast. My father tells me that back in the day it was rare to get fresh oysters in central Ohio, where my great grandfather lived, so it was a real treat for the whole family on Christmas Eve. The meal started with oysters on the half shell, then oyster stew, and finally this fried oyster recipe. My dad mentions that as a kid he hated this meal but once he acquired the taste it lead to a lifetime of enjoying the taste of oysters. The same goes for me. I remember spitting those suckers out in my napkin but now I cannot wait to get my hands on them.

Merry Christmas Eve Fried Oysters

Here is the recipe from the master, my dad:

"I like to buy shucked Chesapeake Bay or Long Island Oysters if I can get them. Sometimes you have to order them in advance from your fishmonger. I lightly dust each oyster in flour, salt, and pepper and let them dry on a couple folded paper towels while I crumble Nabisco Saltine Crackers with a rolling pin in the long bags they come in these days. Pour the cracker crumbs into a wide shallow bowl. You don’t want to pulverize the crackers too much or you will get cracker powder rather than the desirable quarter inch size crumbs. Dip each oyster in a bath of eggs beaten with a little whole milk or cream and then cover it in Saltine Cracker crumbs. Let stand for a minute or so on folded paper towels on a platter then fry in a thick frying pan at medium high heat in about a half an inch of salted/unsalted butter until golden brown on each side. Remove onto another plate with folded paper towels before presenting on a serving platter garnished with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Serve with plenty of freshly made Tartar sauce."



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