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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oyster Po' Boys

I love oysters, but it seems like they don't really love me back. I used to buy them already pre-shucked at my supermarket. Bad idea. Last time I did this my I turned green and ran for the bathroom. When it comes to the freshness of seafood, one does not mess around. Since I am stubborn and will go to great lengths for food I decided that my only recourse was to shuck them myself. I always had visions that any attempts at shucking would quite possibly end with a gouged hand and a hospital visit but I decided to be brave.

Here was my weapon of choice. Well, they only had one kind of oyster knife at the supermarket actually.

I only had a rough idea of how to shuck them so I did what anyone does when they need cooking clarification, I headed to Youtube. I found a clip with Ming-Tsai in which he explains what to do. It looked easy enough so after watching it I started on my pile of oysters.

I am always rather proud of myself when I cook/do something I have only ever seen on TV and it comes out right. I know cocktail oysters are prettier looking but even so oysters don't look wildly appetizing in the shell. In the 1800s they used to be peasant food, funny how now they are considered a delicacy. I didn't have too much trouble shucking them except that you have to stick the tip of the knife right between the two lids and it was a bit hard to find the spot sometimes.

After all that shucking I only got a wee bitty little amount of oysters. So much for leftovers!

As tartar sauce is the natural accompaniment to Oyster Po's boys I decided to make some, no time to make the mayo from scratch though. I have always wanted to try poblano peppers and when I was in Toronto my Mom picked up some for me to take home. Since I don't have a gas stove, alas, I roasted them under the broiler in the oven.

Once they cooled down I bit I chopped them up and mixed them with mayo (please use Hellmann's not Miracle Whip which tastes like nasty in a bottle), green onions, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and horseradish.


I let the tartar sauce sit in the fridge for a little while so that all the ingredients would get to know each other and the flavours would blend.

Next I fried my oysters. I always use cornmeal to coat them since I like the texture and the slight crunch that it gives them. To the cornmeal I added:

-Dried parsley
-Onion powder
-Garlic powder
-Salt and Pepper


Since the oysters are already wet I don't bother with the whole flour/egg/breading procedure as the breading will stick directly onto them. I cooked them in the pan for a few minutes on each side until they were done.

Whenever I am making a sandwich with a really thick filling I like to take out some of the middle of my baguette/French bread. I find that this helps the filling stay in place. I hate when you are eating a sandwich and when you squish it down to take a bite all the filling falls out of the other end.


Here is my assembled Po' Boy. Usually I add sliced tomatoes but since I completely forgot to buy some this week I used sliced cucumbers instead.

It was delicious and well worth the effort that it took to shuck the oysters myself. I really like the contrast of the hot crunchy oysters and the cool tartar sauce and the fluffy French bread. Not ending up being sick was also a plus. Next time though, I will definitely buy way more oysters to have leftovers. I've learnt my lesson!
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