I LOVE oysters. This is surprising because I hated them as a kid and when I tried my first raw oyster in the mid-90s (at the London Beer Show) , I got violently ill. Instead of putting me off of oysters for life, I fell in love with them and even did an in-depth study on oysters and pearls in literature for a senior thesis at university. No one loves oysters as much as my friend Jacqui, who can knock back more raw oysters than anyone I know. Jacqui was also the friend who introduced me to some of the best oysters I ever had in my life, straight from Barilla Bay farm near Hobart, Tasmania. We have gorgeous oysters in South Australia as well, especially from the Eyre Peninsula. Just remember that oysters tend to spawn in the summer and if you happen to eat them in the summer, you may notice a creamier texture (which I do not like at all). Most people would agree that they are at their best in the winter.
Deep-frying oysters is also delicious. In Japanese restaurants you’ll often see it sold as “Oyster Fry” or “Kaki Fry” (Kaki has a double meaning of both oyster and persimmon in Japanese). The recipe is super easy and there is no measuring that needs to be done.
All you need to serve two portions:
- 12 to 16 oysters (depending on whether you are having it as a main or an appetizer)
- plain flour
- 1 to 2 eggs
- Japanese panko breadcrumbs (don’t substitute this)
- salt & pepper
- tonkatsu sauce (Tasty Island Blog has a great post on tonkatsu sauce) http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/tonkatsu-is-all-about-the-sauce/
Shred cabbage very thinly by hand or with a mandolin. Divide between serving plates. It is meant to be eaten with the fried oysters.
Put raw oysters in a bowl and rinse with cold water (you can use salted water but I don’t think it’s necessary). If you happen to have some grated daikon handy, you can also use the daikon to “rinse” the oysters and then rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels or tea towel. Put about 1/2 cup of flour on one plate, a cup of panko on another plate and beat an egg (w/a couple of tablespoons of water) into a separate bowl. Meanwhile, start to heat the oil.
Season the oysters with a little salt and pepper. Then get yourself situated so that the closest plate to the hot oil is the panko, then the egg, then the flour. Roll as many oysters as you can into the flour to coat and before dunking them into the egg, dust off excess flour. Once coated with egg, dip them immediately into the panko and dunk straight into the hot oil. If you start running out of flour, egg or panko before finishing all the oysters, just simply add more to finish off.
If using a deep-fat fryer, fry until golden brown. If using a shallow fry-pan, let oysters become golden brown on one side and turn over with cooking chopsticks or tongs until both sides are golden brown. Let drain on paper towels. Serve with Japanese tonkatsu sauce and hot Japanese white rice. I like to have miso soup with this as well to round it off to a complete meal.
Here is a link to another version of this dish from about.com: