Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday Morning Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwiches

Sam Sifton, New York Times' restaurant critic, published a list of the 15 best things he ate in New York City in 2010, comprising "restaurant dishes of uncommon excellence and flavor." He went on to say "... But these dishes make up just one part of a year’s meals taken at the professional table, one sleeve in the accordion folder marked “2010 Delicious.” Add meals I ate out of town on assignment or off the clock or on the way to the clock, and the catalog swells. There is, for example, the sandwich of deep-fried oysters and house-made bacon I had this year at Cochon in New Orleans, served on white Pullman bread with a chili-spiked mayonnaise..."

I was so tempted to order Cochon's Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwich when we traveled to New Orleans and dined there a few weeks ago. The couple at the end of the bar was happily polishing one off as we grazed through several small plates on the menu, including the amazing wood-fired oyster roast. However, I did come home with James Beard Award Winning cookbook, Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana, which has Cochon's Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwich, and I was eagerly waiting for the chance to make it at home.

I made some minor substitutions by adding a little Creole Spice blend I made for another recipe, using fresh brioche rolls instead of bread, thick applewood-smoked bacon in place of Cochon's housemade bacon, and oysters from Prince Edward Island rather than the Gulf, but oh my, let me tell you, this was quite the sandwich for our Sunday morning dining pleasure!

Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(I also added about a tablespoon of homemade Creole Spice Blend)
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
12 large raw oysters, shucked
2 brioche rolls, or 4 slices white bread, toasted
Mayonnaise for spreading on the rolls
6 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cooked until crisp and drained
Iceberg lettuce leaves, whole or shredded
1 large tomato, the ripest and sweetest you can find, cut into thin slices

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl or breading tray.  Heat 2 inches of oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 350 F (Alternatively, fill small electric fryer with oil to fill line and heat to 350 F).

Toss the oysters in the seasoned flour, shake off excess, and fry for about 3 minutes, until lightly golden brown, and then drain on paper towels.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread the toasted buns with mayonnaise, then build upward, starting with the oysters, then bacon, lettuce, tomato, and bun tops.  Scarf immediately.

This sandwich is all about using the best and freshest ingredients you can find - plump oysters; ripe, sweet tomatoes; thick, smoked bacon; and soft, fresh rolls or bread.  It's a winner.



Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things about cruising the challenge posts is checking out peoples other posts. This is right up my alley. Although I have not done the oyster version, I have done a fried shrimp version and they are delicious. Great post.

Carmen said...

I love PEI oysters! I was raised on Gulf oysters but after cycling around PEI for two weeks at 50 miles a day, I necessarily gave in to the flavor of those little beauties and they bring back fond memories of younger days when I had more energy ...

Anonymous said...

This looks so good! I love brioche for sandwiches. Great substitutions and post!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

That looks so delicious! I've never had oysters, but I love shellfish and mollusks, so I'd probably like it. :)

Carolyn Jung said...

Man, if you're eating fried oyster-bacon sandwiches on Sunday mornings, I need to come to your house. If you hear me knocking, have pity and open the door. ;)