Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, uses the bottom oyster shells as serving platters for these crispy fried oysters with piquant sauce.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. minced cornichons
- 2 tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp. minced capers
- 1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
- 1 tbsp. minced shallots
- 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp. minced anchovies
- 1⁄2 tsp. paprika
- 2 dashes Tabasco
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Canola or peanut oil, for frying
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 3⁄4 cup flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 24 medium oysters, such as bluepoint or Apalachicola, shucked, bottom shells reserved
Make the rémoulade: In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, cornichons, parsley, capers, mustard, tarragon, shallots, vinegar, anchovies, paprika, Tabasco, and lemon zest. Stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Pour oil into a 4-qt. pot to a depth of 2″ and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350º. Meanwhile, whisk together cornmeal and flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour buttermilk into another shallow dish. Working in small batches, dip oysters in buttermilk and then in cornmeal mixture, tossing to coat. Transfer oysters to a rack set inside a baking sheet. Working in batches, add oysters to oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer oysters to paper towels. Spoon some of the reserved rémoulade into the reserved oyster shells and top with fried oysters. Serve warm.