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Jim Coleman Recipes

Chicken Fried Oysters with Warm Spinach & Pear Salad

For this recipe you will need:

For the oysters:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf or 4 whole bay leaves, ground in a spice grinder, unprocessed pieces removed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 pints shucked oysters drained
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups canola oil, for frying the oysters
  • Salt and ground black pepper

For the spinach salad:

  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mild-flavored honey
  • 4 dashes tabasco sauce
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and diced medium (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups canola oil, for frying the oysters
  • 1 10 oz. bag baby spinach, washed and dried
  • Salt and ground black pepper

For the oysters:

1. Combine the flour, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, celery seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oysters and buttermilk, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

For the spinach salad:

1. Whisk together the mustard, canola oil, champagne vinegar, honey, and tabasco sauce in a small bowl until emulsified.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet, then add the pears to the skillet.

4. Cook the pears until lightly browned, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Set the skillet aside - do not wash it.

6. Drain the oysters, shaking off excess buttermilk. Add half of the oysters to the flour mixture and toss to coat.

7. Transfer the oysters to a large, wire-mesh strainer and shake to remove the excess flour. Place the oysters on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

8. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 400 degrees. (Use an instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures or clip a candy/deep-fat thermometer onto the side of the pan before turning on the heat.)

9. Add half of the oysters and fry, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the cooking temperature.

10. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the oysters to a place lined with several layers of paper towels and repeat with the remaining oysters.

11. Add the vinaigrette to the reserved skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the vinaigrette is bubbling, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes.

12. Divide the spinach equally among individual salad plates and drizzle with the warm vinaigrette. Sprinkle sauteed pears over the salads and then divide the oysters equally among the plates. Serve immediately.

©2008 WHYY