Every once in a while I need an oyster fix, and briny fresh oysters on the half shell are the only thing that will do the trick. But for some, eating raw oysters is an acquired taste. Well, try frying them instead! I came up with this idea as I was driving back to San Francisco from Tomales Bay with a case of oysters in the trunk. I was craving Caesar salad. I couldn't get my mind off the oysters, though. I got home and put the two together. The crunchy golden fried oysters with the cool crisp greens tossed in the rich, silky, dressing is simply delicious.
TO DRINK: Rosé Champagne
18 fresh oysters in their shell1/2 cup all-purpose flour2 whole eggs1 cup dry bread crumbssalt and freshly ground black pepperOil for deep frying, peanut, corn or olive oil1 clove garlic, minced1 teaspoon Dijon mustard2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice2 anchovy fillets, soaked in cold water 10 minutes, patted dry and mashed1 egg yolk1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil4 small hearts of romaine, leaves separated1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Shuck the oyster and reserve them separately from the oyster liquor from the shell. Discard the shells.
Place the flour in a bowl. Place the eggs in another bowl and whisk with 2 tablespoons water. Place the bread crumbs in a third bowl. Season the flour and bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Dredge the oysters in the flour first and tap off the excess. Next dip them in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.
In a small saucepan heat 1-inch of oil to 375°F.
For the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the reserved oyster liquor, the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, mashed anchovies and egg yolk until well blended. Add the olive oil slowly in a steady stream and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Deep fry the oysters, a few at a time, until golden, 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the dressing until the leaves are coated. Add half of the Parmigiano and toss again. Place on serving plates and top each plate with 3 oysters and sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmigiano. Serve immediately.
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