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North Fork Oyster Po’boy by Charity Robey, Photography by David Benthal

Farm fields may be frozen, but the bays are still full of food and winter bivalves are most choice. With a hankering for oysters (they contain high levels of zinc, which bolsters the immune system) I made a locally sourced po’boy; inspired by the spicy New Orleans fried oyster sandwich. 

This one uses Peconic Gold Oysters from Matt Ketcham’s farm stand (21125 Route 48 in Cutchogue), a crusty French roll from Blue Duck Bakery (130 Front St., Greenport) and a zingy sauce made with Schmitt’s horseradish (farm stand at 3355 Sound Ave. in Riverhead). 

You can buy Peconic Gold Oysters in the shell or shucked, but don’t toss the oyster liquor if you shuck your own. It’s great in a Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary — the perfect beverage-pairing for a tangy sandwich. 

North Fork Oyster Po’boy

Serves 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen oysters
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fine ground yellow cornmeal
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup peanut or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Schmitt's BBQ horseradish
  • 1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 French rolls, split

Directions

  • Shuck and drain oysters, reserving the liquor.
  • Pat the oysters dry with a paper towel.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the eggs with a fork.
  • Put the cornmeal in another shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge each oyster in the egg mixture, and shake off the excess cornmeal.
  • Heat the oil in a steel wok, or an 8-inch iron skillet to 375 degrees. Use a thermometer so you know when the oil is hot enough.
  • With a slotted spoon, place the breaded oysters in the hot oil. Fry in batches, and give them some space to brown evenly.
  • Fry the oysters for about two minutes, turning once. Very small oysters will cook faster, maybe as little as a minute. When golden brown, remove each one with the slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • Place 4-6 fried oysters between the halves of each roll, and tuck in some arugula.
  • Combine the horseradish and the mayonnaise, and drizzle over the sandwiches.
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