Fried Hood Canal Oyster, Two Ways

Fried Oyster Taco

Fried Oyster Po’ Boy

Hood Canal Oyster
These beauties are from the cold clean waters of the Hood Canal in Washington State. The species, Pacific (Crassostrea gigas), was originally imported from Japan and has been farmed in Washington since the beginning of the last century.
When shopping for your oysters to make tacos or po’ boys make sure to buy extra, so you can enjoy these delicious, firm, slightly salty, meaty oysters au naturel as well. The Oyster Guide, a terrific oyster resource, describes the flavors as reminiscent of lettuce and lemon zest.

Take the freshly shucked oyster and dust with flour, dip in a beaten egg, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Fry in canola oil over medium high heat until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to a paper towel and season with a little sea salt.

Top warm corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, cilantro, and small dice white onion, a sprinkle of salt. Top with the hot crispy fried oyster, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of ají amarillo crema.
Two Sauces: Ají Crema and Ají Mayonnaise

The ají amarillo is a yellow Peruvian pepper that is simultaneously hot and fruity. This pepper and fried oysters make a great flavor combination. For the taco, mix ají amarillo salsa with Crema Mexicana.

The sauce for the po’ boy is made by blending ají amarillo salsa with mayonnaise. Spread on both sides of a sliced French roll, top with lettuce and tomatoes and fried oyster. Pickles are a good addition too.

In New Orleans around 1900, the precursor of the Po’ Boy sandwich was called La Mediatrice (the peacemaker) as a man who might have stayed out too late at night would bring fried oysters on a buttered French roll home to appease his not-so-happy wife. “Look honey, don’t be mad, I brought you some fried oysters!”

Fried Oyster Taco, Ají Amarillo Crema

Panko crusted Hama Hama Oysters from the Hood Canal in Washington State, quickly fried in canola oil served on a handmade corn tortilla with napa cabbage, sliced serrano chile, cilantro, ají amarillo crema, and a squeeze of lime.

One of life’s small pleasures is a fresh homemade tortilla. Buy tortilla masa from the refrigerated section. Knead the masa until it is soft and pliable, then form a ball. Place the masa ball between plastic wrap on the tortilla press, then firmly close the press. Lay dough on a hot heavy skillet for about 30 seconds per side.

For a change from the now ubiquitous chipotle cream sauce try making a sauce with chiles from Peru. Ají amarillo is one of my favorites, it is a lovely yellow color, quite hot but with a slightly fruity extraordinary flavor. You can buy ají amarillo paste in a jar (middle right). Mix the paste with Crema Mexicana or sour cream. I find it in the Peruvian section at my local supermercado.

¡Feliz  Cinco De Mayo!