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.