Oyster Po'Boys

For those who don't like their oysters raw, there's the classic po'-boy sandwich. New Orleans's first po'boy makers settled on a roll that is light and mild, so that it doesn't overpower the tender oysters inside, yet is substantial enough to keep its shape when the sweet juices are released from their cornmeal crust. We discovered that a soft-crusted French, Italian, Portuguese, or Cuban loaf works well. Hot pepper sauce is the traditional condiment, but we've improvised a little, using chipotle mayonnaise to add a layer of smokiness instead of pure heat.

Recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr
Prep: 5 min
Inactive Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min
YIELD: 2 sandwiches
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

CHIPOTLE MAYONNAISE:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle in adobo
    OYSTERS:
    • 6 cups vegetable oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup whole milk
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 cups shucked oysters, drained (about 36)
    • 1 (12 to 14-inch-long) loaf soft-crusted bread
    • 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
    • Accompaniment: lemon wedges
    • Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer
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    Directions

    To make the chipotle mayonnaise: Whisk together mayonnaise, chipotle, and lemon juice and chill mixture, its surface covered with plastic wrap.
    To make the oysters: Heat oil in a deep heavy pot (preferably a cast iron Dutch oven) over high heat until it registers 375 degrees F on deep-fat thermometer, about 12 minutes.

    While oil is heating, whisk together egg, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Shake cornmeal, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a plastic or paper bag until combined well.

    Working in batches, add oysters to egg mixture, then lift out, letting excess drip off, and transfer to cornmeal in bag, shaking to coat well.
    Carefully transfer to oil, knocking off excess coating, and fry, turning occasionally, until golden and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining oysters in same manner, returning oil to 375 degrees F for each batch.

    To assemble the sandwich: Halve loaf crosswise and horizontally, cutting all the way through, and spread 1 cut side of each piece with mayonnaise. Sandwich oysters and lettuce between bread, pressing gently.

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