Oyster Po’ Boy. Picture / Supplied.

Oyster Po' Boy Recipe

Try this delicious dish from cookbook Fried Chicken & Friends

Gregory Llewllyn and Naomi Hart from Sydney’s modern-American restaurant Hartsyard are in Auckland for Restaurant Month. The po’ boys they serve in the restaurant are a variation on the Louisiana staple. Make a start on this recipe the day before serving, as the oysters need a good, long buttermilk soaking.

Makes 4

OYSTER PO’ BOYS

• 4 large Pacific oysters, shucked
• 100 ml buttermilk
• 1 Tbsp Hartsyard hot sauce, plus extra to serve
• Approximately 1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
• ¼ batch of Hartsyard seasoned flour mix
• 4 English muffins, halved, lightly toasted and buttered
• ¼ batch of coleslaw

HARTSYARD HOT SAUCE
• 200g long red fresno chillies
• 200g brown onions, halved
• 1 litre white vinegar
• 100g sea salt
• 100g garlic cloves
• 100g unsalted butter

• Hooded barbecue
• 250g oak food-grade woodchips (never use chunks or pellets)

1. On a barbecue with a lid, lay out half the chillies and half the onions, leaving enough space to house a black cast-iron pan. Place the empty cast-iron pan on the stovetop until ridiculously hot (roughly 5 minutes on full heat).

2. Meanwhile, in a 3 litre stockpot, combine the remaining chillies and onions, the vinegar, sea salt and garlic. Bring to a slow simmer, never allowing the mixture to boil. When the cast-iron pan is at smelting temperature, cover the bottom with at least 1 cm (½ inch) of oak chips. Leave until the chips start to smoulder and smoke (almost instantaneous) — they should never ignite.

3. Move the cast-iron pan to the barbecue very carefully, then close the barbecue lid and leave to smoke. If the chips are still smoking after a minimum of 20 minutes, let them go until they’re finished; but if they’re done, place the whole smoked vegetables in the simmering stockpot (which by now should have been bubbling away for 30 minutes).

4. Simmer for a further 30 minutes, ensuring the mixture never boils. After 1 hour of total cooking, remove the stockpot from the heat.

5. Stir in the butter, then wrap the top of the hot container with plastic wrap to form a seal. Leave at room temperature for 48 hours.

6. After 2 days, blend all the ingredients until smooth enough to strain through a colander. This should remove large chunks, leaving behind a fine pulp. 

7. Transfer to sterile bottles or airtight containers and refrigerate until required; the sauce will easily keep for a week or two.

HARTSYARD SEASONED FLOUR MIX

• 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
• 30g (¼ cup) cornflour
• 100g (½ cup) tapioca flour (it is less greasy than wheat flour)
• 1½ Tbsp sea salt
• 60g ½ cup) onion powder
• 60g (½ cup) garlic powder
• 60g (½ cup) Old Bay Seasoning
• 2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
• 1 Tbsp celery salt

Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl; whisk until thoroughly combined.

ENGLISH MUFFINS
Makes 12

• 250 ml (1 cup) milk
• 35g butter, chopped
• 4 tsp dried yeast
• 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
• 1 egg
• 500g (3 1/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour approximately
• 500g polenta (cornmeal), for dusting (preferably the real stuff, not the ‘‘instant’’ variety)
• 50ml canola oil

1. Heat the oven to 160C (315F).

2. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat until the butter has melted, then pull the pan off the heat and cool the mixture to room temperature.

3. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer, then add the yeast and sugar and mix until dissolved. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, to allow the yeast to activate; it should become frothy. Add the egg and flour, then beat until smooth and homogenous.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with the polenta. Knead the dough by hand for 2 minutes, dusting with extra polenta if it gets too sticky.

5. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 2cm (¾ inch), then cut out 12 rounds, using a 5.5 cm round cutter. Place the rounds on a baking tray dusted with polenta.

6. Heat the canola oil in a cast-iron frying pan over medium-low heat. Working four at a time, pan-fry the dough rounds for about 1½ minutes on each side, or until golden brown delicious on both sides, returning each batch to the baking tray.

7. When all the rounds have been pan-fried, pop the tray in the oven and bake the muffins for 10-12 minutes, or until they crack slightly around the circumference. (The baking off is just to ‘‘finish’’ the muffins, as they have already been cooked during pan-frying.)

8. The muffins are best enjoyed the same day, but can be doused in butter and toasted in the oven again a couple of days later, if there are any left by then.

COLESLAW
Serves 6

• ¼ green cabbage
• 4 small brown pickling onions, peeled, topped and tailed
• 1 large carrot, peeled
• 4 Tbsp chopped chives
• ½ batch of Old Bay mayo

1. Shred the cabbage lengthways into 2mm strands. Shave the onions into rings the same thickness as the cabbage.

2. Insert the julienne attachment into the mandoline, then shave the carrot diagonally.

3. In a bowl, toss the cabbage, onion, carrot and chives by hand until evenly distributed. Just before serving, spoon in the mayo to suit your taste. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.

OLD BAY MAYO
Makes 700g

• 2 egg yolks
• 60ml (¼ cup) champagne vinegar
• 1 Tbsp smooth dijon mustard
• 600 ml (21 fl oz) canola oil
• 2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning (see glossary)
• 1 Tbsp white miso paste
• Juice of 1 lemon

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard and 2Tbsp water until smooth.
2. With the motor running, slowly pour in the canola oil until the mixture thickens. If it’s too thick, add another 2tbsp water — the mixture should be homogenous, with a thick, creamy texture.
3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the Old Bay Seasoning and miso paste. Dip your finger in to taste, then season with the lemon juice and sea salt if necessary. A crack of black pepper wouldn’t go astray. The mayo will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

TO ASSEMBLE

1. Place the oysters in a bowl. Add the buttermilk and hot sauce and stir to combine. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. Remove the oysters from the buttermilk and drain on paper towel. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

3. Coat the oysters with the seasoned flour mix, then fry in the hot oil until golden brown and crisp on the outside, but still soft and creamy inside — about 45-60 seconds on the first side, and another 30 seconds on the second side.Remove and drain on paper towel.

4. To serve, place a hot oyster on a muffin base, add a spoonful or two of coleslaw and top with the muffin lid. Serve with more hot sauce.

Fried Chicken & Friends cookbook. Picture / Supplied.

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