Every once in a while, usually during the onset of summer, I make fried food for brunch. If that means that the brunch has become lunch, so be it. And though my guests might miss the egg dishes or pancakes they might have been expecting, they quickly get over it when they experience that incredible first bite of fried deliciousness. This fried oyster recipe is adapted from an unlikely source, French pastry chef Francois Payard's Bite Size. I didn't think the balsamic vinegar would work with the fried oysters, but its sweet and sour notes actually work well with the brininess of the oysters and bright acidity and tartness of the lemon.
Fried Oysters with Lemon and Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 quart canola oil for frying
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 20 fresh oysters, shucked and drained of their liquor
- 4 lemons, thinly sliced (20 slices)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fill a medium saucepan with the canola oil. Clip a deep-frying thermometer to the side of the pan, and heat the oil to 375°F.
Place the milk and flour in separate shallow containers. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dip each oyster into the milk and then into the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour.
Fry a few oysters at a time in the oil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not crowd the pan, and maintain the oil at a steady 375°F. As they are done, remove the oysters to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
Lightly crush the lemon slices with a fork. Sprinkle a few drops of balsamic vinegar on each slice.
Arrange the lemon slices on a large platter, and place 1 fried oyster on each slice. Serve immediately, so that the breading of the oyster absorbs the lemon and vinegar.