I am not lying when I say you can make these crispy beer battered oysters with just five ingredient in a jiffy. That is, in a jiffy if you either can shuck oysters yourself, or buy them shucked.
If neither of the above is true – as was the case when my friend Ashley brought us two dozen Maryland oysters from her Easter trip back home — Don’t worry! You can either steam, grill or microwave them open, or, if you’re daring, grab anything that looks like an oyster knife, do a quick Internet search on shucking, and give it a go. (Shucking instructions and recipe below!)
Me and the dad gave it a go (because we couldn’t help ourselves in the face of the challenge), banishing the moms from the kitchen so she couldn’t see the mess we were making or how we were taking our lives in our hands for the sake of an oozy, slimy, bivalve with no pearl. Lo and behold, a few scary, sweaty minutes later, we had a pile of plump glistening oysters waiting to be fried and a couple of beers waiting to wash them down with.
But first, the beer had to go into the batter. We used Hoptical Illusion, a local IPA from Blue Point Brewing Company. I am not normally a beer drinker, but I do like a hoppy IPA on occasion. And this was an occasion. We were very pleased with our Bear Grylls selves.
The dad abandoned his crazy-ass diet like a bad habit (which it is) once we had these crispy, golden, puffy, oyster babies drying off on some paper towel. The moms came in to try one “for professional reasons” claiming she doesn’t like oysters and ended up eating several, while Leandro proclaimed them better than the ones he had in a Brooklyn restaurant a while back. And while they were busy yapping about it (all of us tend to narrate our every move), I was busy eating as many as I could.
Thanks to Ashley for being a true friend and bringing those oysters back for us! Next time she will be right there with us knocking them back.
I’d love to know what you all do with oysters. Please comment on your favorites. And check out my review of one of my favorite books – The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky (The History of New York on the Half Shell) on Seasoned Fork.
Crispy Beer Battered Oysters
Place the oyster, rounded side down, on a towel.
Fold the towel over and use your non–knife hand to keep the oyster stable, using the towel to protect you from nasty incident.
With your oyster knife (or other pointy implement that is thin enough to slide between the shell and strong enough to withstand some twisting, and small enough to give you some leverage), feel around the narrow end for the slot between the shells. Once your knife tip is in, feel around and twist to pop the hinge. (My implement sucked and I ended up breaking off the point in the oyster. Twice. No harm done, fortunately)
Before you open it entirely, slide the knife along the top flat shell to cut the muscle.
Open the shell (keeping the juices in the bottom round part), cut themuscle under the oyster and you are ready for action!
3/4 Cup flour
a bottle of beer
1/4 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat oil until rippling. You want enough oil to come up about 1/2″- 3/4″ up the pot (we used a small saucepan and fried about four at a time).
Whisk enough beer into the flour to wet thoroughly. Then add enough, still whisking, to make a loose batter. Whisk in the salt. Drop a few oysters at a time in the batter, cover thoroughly, then drop in the oil, lowering heat if they crisp too quickly. Remove and drain on paper towel after about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with lemon (or not) and eat! We dipped in cocktail sauce and aioli for kicks, but really, a bit of lemon was enough.
Drink the rest of the beer!