Oysters With Pepper Butter

This is the oyster version of Buffalo chicken wings–a tremendous improvement on the latter. The idea was hatched at Mr. B’s, then spread to the Red Fish Grill, where it’s a signature dish. It’s simple enough, except for the frying part. (Which, of course, is always a mess.) Use a less-hot hot sauce (in other words, not Tabasco or habanero sauce) to make the sauce. Crystal is perfect, but there are many others. When reducing the sauce, make sure the ventilation is good, because steaming hot sauce can burn your eyes.

Fried oysters with pepper butter sauce.

  • Sauce:
  • 2 oz. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 36 oysters
  • 1 1/2 cups corn flour (Fish-Fri)
  • 2 Tbs. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing, or crumbled blue cheese
  • Crumbled crisp bacon for garnish
  • French bread, cut into half-inch-thick slices and toasted

1. Make the sauce first. Bring the liquid ingredients to a light boil in a small saucepan. Reduce by about a third.

2. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the butter, a tablespoon or so at a time, until you have a creamy-looking, orange sauce. Keep warm, but don’t keep it on a continuous burner.

3. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees.

4. In a bowl, add the Creole seasoning and salt to the corn flour and mix with a fork. Toss the oysters in the mixture to coat, and shake off the excess flour.

5. Fry the oysters until plump and light brown. Drain.

6. Serve the oysters on a piece of buttered French bread, drizzled with the sauce, and a ramekin of the blue cheese dressing for dipping. Crumble bacon over the oysters to garnish.

Makes thirty-six pieces.

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