By David Harbilas
Yogurt is a very ubiquitous ingredient in Turkish cuisine and such a wonderful combination of sweet and sour that it’s amazing that it hasn’t become a more popular ingredient here in America.
It’s also, obviously, very healthy, and seeing as how we love our dairy and fats (like butter and cream), this is an easy way to get some of that satisfaction without doing terrible harm to our bodies.
Even if you decide to use whole milk yogurt a little goes a long way as far as flavor is concerned, so the caloric content is not likely to be that great.
This sauce can also be used on chicken, beef, or any other protein–especially eggs. A fried egg over an English muffin drizzled with a little of this sauce is a great way to start the day.
Makes enough sauce for 1 dozen oysters
1 cup plain yogurt
2 plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons mild chile powder
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
About 1 cup club soda
12 each oysters, shucked
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and drizzle with a little of the chile powder, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Roast the tomatoes for about 30-40 minutes, or until soft and slightly charred at the edges. Remove and cool. Puree the tomatoes until smooth, then pass through a sieve into a bowl. Add the yogurt, along with the rest of the chile powder, honey and salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, prepare a large pot to fry the oysters–fill the pot no more than halfway with the frying oil and heat to about 350 degrees. (Use a candy thermometer, or heat over high heat until a small pinch of flour will instantly sizzle when thrown into the oil.) Mix the cornstarch with the flour and whisk in the club soda to make a thin tempura batter. The batter should just coat the oysters thinly, as the batter will puff up; any thicker and the batter will end up being a very thick coating and the oyster will be “lost” in it.
Coat the oysters first in flour, then dip into the tempura batter. Drop the oysters into the oil. Make sure to use a slotted spoon to stir the oysters in the oil so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once they float on top of the oil, let them cook for about 1 minute. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain for 30 seconds, seasoning with salt and pepper as they are hot. Serve with a drizzle of the yogurt sauce, or on the side for dipping.