Big Easy Oyster Po’ Boy
Food for the Soul by Chef Jeff Henderson
When my parents migrated from New Orleans, they brought everything with them but the kitchen sink. It’s the spicy food that I love most about New Orleans. Gumbo, oyster po’ boys, red beans and rice, pralines and yellow pecan cake are some of my favorites. They’re all to die for.
My Big-Easy po’ boys are amazing, especially during the summer months. They’re light and simple to make, and great for lunch or dinner. I like to serve them with fries or potato salad and a fruit-flavored soda. If oysters are not your thing, use shrimp or fish instead. Oh — and lots of pickles!
Recipe by Chef Jeff Henderson
Big Easy Oyster Po’ Boy
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
4 cups canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
3 dozen medium to large oysters, shucked and drained
1 20-inch loaf soft French or Italian bread, split lengthwise and hollowed out slightly
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, washed and shredded
2 tomatoes, washed, cored and thinly sliced
1 large dill pickle, thinly sliced
WHAT TO DO
1. Heat the oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees. (The skillet should be deep enough that the oil fills it between one-third and one-half full and does not bubble over the top while the food is frying.)
2. Mix the flour, cornmeal, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
3. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small to medium bowl.
4. Rinse the oysters well under cold running water. Spread the oysters on a platter lined with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
5. Dip the seasoned oysters into the egg wash, then coat them with the flour mixture. Place coated oysters on dry paper towels.
6. Deep-fry one oyster to test for cooking temperature and flavor adjustments. Make necessary changes if need be.
7. Deep-fry the oysters in batches until golden and cooked through. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
8. To make the sandwiches, mix the mayonnaise and Tabasco and spread each side of the bread with mayonnaise. Layer the lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickle on the bread and top with fried oysters. Close po’ boy, cut in half, and serve at once.
Jeff Henderson is the author of The New York Times best-seller “Cooked” (William Morrow) and “Chef Jeff Cooks” (Simon & Schuster). For more info, visit www.chefjeffhenderson.com.