Father’s Day requires a meal that expresses your respect for the Big Man. I am thinking something over-the-top in both preparation and flavors. Sure, you can throw a steak on the grill and bake a potato, but I propose something more creative. Something like Deep-Fried Oysters with BBQ Sauce and Blue Cheese.
A trip to New Orleans a few years ago found me and my honey eating chargrilled oysters at every place we could in the French Quarter. We ate them in the traditional way, grilled on the half shell, cupping butter and lots of Parmesan cheese at Felix’s and Acme Oyster House. These two oyster houses face each other on Iberville Street. Then we tried variations on the theme, some Rockefeller-style with spinach and others briny and raw, at other restaurants in the Quarter.
The most memorable version was a messy plate of deep-fried oysters draped in BBQ sauce and then dotted with blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles at Desire Oyster Bar on Bourbon Street. New Orleans is a city of excess and this dish exemplifies that.
A plate of six was easily shareable because of the richness. As I often do when I travel, I like to replicate what I’ve had on the road when I return home. Even when the final result gets high marks at the table, I always feel the effort falls short. That’s because it doesn’t quite taste the same to me because of the surroundings. The place and that laissez-faire attitude while you’re on the road affects taste buds, I am sure of it.
So this is my closest approximation for the bbq-blue cheese oysters we gobbled at Desire. We sat at a table with the window next to us flung wide. People who passed on the sidewalks stopped to look at our plates. Nobody asked for a bite but I probably had a “don’t even ask” look on my face.
The biggest challenge with this recipe is deep-frying the oysters. I don’t find that difficult, just a bit messy. I make a few more than I think I will need just in case some get overcooked. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of assembling the plate. Dad will thank you for it. When he’s done eating anyway.
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese, divided use
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 shucked oysters, drained (if done a fish market, ask to have the shells for serving)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup fine bread crumbs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce (your choice)
- Chopped scallions for garnish
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- To make the dressing, whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise. Stir in half of the cheese and then season with black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To fry the oysters, Heat deep fryer to 375 degrees.
- Combine flour, salt and black pepper. Dredge oysters in flour mixture, dip in egg and roll in bread crumbs.
- Carefully slide oysters into hot oil. Cook five at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels.
- While oysters are frying, warm the BBQ sauce.
- To assembly dish, place oysters on half shell or a large platter. Spoon warm BBQ sauce over each one. Spoon a bit of blue cheese dressing next to oysters. Scatter remaining blue cheese evenly over all oysters. Sprinkle scallions over plate and serve with lemon wedges if you'd like.