Posted on 27 July 2010 by

Cornmeal Fried Oysters with Tomato-Bacon Salsa

cornmealBy David Harbilas

I recently made this as a guest at another chef’s restaurant.

He had a large container filled with oysters still in their shell, in addition to some great looking heirloom tomatoes.

I figured that one of the best ways to pair the two things together was to use the tomatoes raw, so as to utilize their natural sweetness, and frying the oysters would give them some crunch and provide a contrast in the warm oysters against the cool salsa.

The bacon adds smoke, which is also provided by some spices added to the cornmeal breading.

Serves 1 appetizer portion

for the oysters:

  • 5 oysters, shucked, shells reserved
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • for the salsa:
  • 1 heirloom tomato, red variety (like brandywine), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 slices applewood smoked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Mix the cornmeal with the old bay and cayenne. Bread the oysters by dipping them first in the flour, then into the beaten egg, and last in the cornmeal spice mixture. Set them aside. To make the salsa, first cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve the fat. Chop the bacon fine.

Mix the bacon with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper as needed. Fry the oysters in vegetable oil until crispy and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with salt and pepper. To serve, place an oyster on each shell and drizzle with some of the reserved bacon fat. Top with the salsa.

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