Invented in the 1880s by Louisville tavern keeper Phillip Mazzoni, these crisp, deep-fried oyster patties are the ultimate bar snack.
- 1 cup white cornmeal
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄3 cup milk
- 18 medium oysters, such as bluepoints, shucked (about 1/2 lb.), 2 tbsp. of the liquor reserved
- 1 egg, beaten
- Canola Oil, for frying
- Tartar Sauce or ketchup, for serving
Put cornmeal into a shallow dish and set aside. Over a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk, reserved oyster liquor, and egg. Add oysters to the batter and toss to coat. Using one hand, scoop out 3 oysters and roll in cornmeal, forming a patty. Transfer oyster patty to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining oysters.
Pour canola oil into a 12" cast-iron skillet so that it reaches a depth of 1". Heat skillet over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°. Fry the oyster patties in batches, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with remaining oyster patties; serve with tartar sauce or ketchup.