Need a delightful party appetizer? Make and serve fried oysters with a deviled egg sauce from Chef Kevin Johnson of The Grocery. They’re perfect with a glass of bubbly!
Images by Andrew Cebulka
Don’t worry, we’re also tired of the usual chips and dips and basic snacks served at New Year’s Eve parties. That’s why we’re making fried oysters this year! Chef Kevin Johnson of The Grocery convinced us. Warm and familiar-feeling, The Grocery is a favorite neighborhood spot in Charleston with wood-burning ovens and delicious cocktails. One of the favorite appetizers on their dinner menu is fried oysters with deviled egg sauce and bread and butter pickle. It’s a beautiful blend of flavors and textures!
We all love hot, crispy oysters with the usual remoulade sauce, but Chef Johnson was looking to reinvent the bite a tad, so he invited a rich deviled egg sauce to the party. The pickled bring a touch of sweetness and acidity to brighten up the whole bite. Not into sweet pickles, have no fear! These pickles aren’t cloying sweet.
Chef Johnson notes, “The pickles play an important role in the process – creamy and spicy sauce; hot, briny, crispy oyster; cool, crisp, acidic pickle.”
Not sure how to choose good oysters? Chef let us in on a few tips.
“Medium-sized oysters work best – lots of the varieties from the mid-Atlantic seems to be best. It needs to be plump to hold up to the frying. If they are too small they’ll overcook, and if they are too big then you can’t eat it in one bite.”
Not let’s talk wine! Chef Johnson’s favorite pairing with this bite (and so many other bites that are bound to be at a NYE celebration) is a sparkling Brut rosé. Cheers!
- 5 lbs sliced pickling cucumbers
- 2 onions, julienned
- ⅓ cup salt
- 4 cup cider vinegar
- 4 cup sugar
- 2 t turmeric
- 2 t celery seed
- 2 t dill seed
- ½ t red pepper flake
- 4 t mustard seed
- 5 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped
- 20 g mayonnaise
- 30 g Dijon mustard
- 4 g Siracha
- 1 g paprika
- 2 t caper juice
- 2 t pickle juice
- Cayenne to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups stone ground cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Salt to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- 6 –8 oysters per person
- Vegetable oil
- Toss cucumbers and onions in a bowl with the salt
- Take a second bowl, fill with ice, and place over the cucumbers and onion and let stand for about 6 -12 hours
- Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, pour directly over cucumber and onion
- Allow to cool slightly and place in refrigerator for at least one day and up to two weeks. Chef’s note: reduce quantity if you are making refrigerator pickles. For larger quantities, process according to manufacturer’s pickling guidelines.
- Combine all ingredients in blender. Puree until very smooth. Add a little buttermilk if it needs help getting going.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk lightly.
- Chef’s note: You can also buy pre-shucked oysters from a reputable fishmonger or seafood shop.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet to 350 degrees
- Dredge shucked oysters into breading and coat well
- Shake off excess and fry until golden on the outside. But make sure oysters are still nice and plump on the inside.
- Remove oysters from oil and drain on paper towel
- Place small dollops of sauce on plate
- Place oysters on top of sauce
- Garnish with pickles