Admittedly, one of the main reasons I had the brilliant idea of inviting people over for dinner was that I wanted to make the fried oyster po' boy sandwich in Emeril's forthcoming cookbook, Kicked-Up Sandwiches and I had (a) never shucked an oyster in my life and (b) never deep-fried anything on my stove. I, uh, needed some help.
Bit first, a little aside. So, you all know I'm a runner, right? Well, when I decided to have this little party, I committed to drinking Octoberfest beers and eating delicious sandwiches (among other foods...including some little salami, tomato, and mozzarella appetizers and, later, a pumpkin tart) with my friends on Saturday, instead of running a Sunday morning half-marathon. We all make sacrifices!
|Appetizer and beer.|
|No Octoberfest would be complete without some pumpkin stuff!|
I registered for the New York Road Runners' Staten Island Half-Marathon with the idea that it would be a training run for my big upcoming race, the UnitedHealthcare Newport Half-Marathon, but the only reason I was really doing it was that I had wanted to run four out of the five NYRR borough series races for automatic entry to the NYC Half next spring. This would have been my fourth. But, meh. The NYC Half is no longer as important to me, because if I run a spring half, it will probably be a different one.
Anyway, because I decided against doing the Sunday race, I had to do a long run on Saturday morning before I really got grooving with my party prep. A group of my friends are training for the ING New York City Marathon this year, and they were running the last 18 miles of the marathon course that day. The course goes through the south Bronx around mile 20 (mile 12 of their Saturday run), so I agreed to meet them there with Gatorade, then run with them to the finish in Central Park. Fun! It turned out to be a great morning for a run, and I think I'll be spectating the marathon at the spot I met them (138th in the Bronx, right before the Madison Avenue bridge back into Manhattan). But, SOMEONE did NOT want me to go running, I think, because he commandeered the running clothes pile that I had set out the night before:
|Mack is pleading, "No, no, please don't go!" He also looks kind of hefty in this picture. Maybe he needs to go running, himself.|
The intended star of this party was the oyster po' boy, despite the fact that I, a transplanted Midwestern girl, had never in my life shucked an oyster. Thankfully, our friends C. and S. have shucking tools - an oyster knife and gloves to protect your hand from getting stabbed - they were willing to bring over, as well as previous shucking experience. I had another oyster knife that I'd received as a wedding favor, so this was the perfect chance to try it out.
I shucked about five oysters, just to say I did, and then John took over, helping C. with the dirty work. Those guys shucked 60 oysters in no time. Thanks, guys!
|Oysters from FreshDirect. I ordered BeauSoleil oysters, but only because they were out of the Bluepoints I really wanted.|
|John (on the left) and C. shucking away. My sister-in-law Tracy observes from a safe distance.|
|Oyster po' boy ingredients. Bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and hot sauce in the background, along with the flour mixtured, including Dexter's Grist Mill corn meal.|
|Tracy is taking her job VERY seriously.|
At this point, even though my trepidation about shucking the oysters was over, I was still afraid of frying these things in my small apartment kitchen. Wouldn't the oil splatter all over me and everything around? What if I started a huge oil fire? What if the oil got too hot and I ruined $60 worth of oysters? Ahhhhh!
Well, I just had to be brave and go for it, so I finished my beer, dumped some vegetable oil in my high-sided heavy pot, stuck my candy thermometer in, and monitored the oil temperature until it reach 360 degrees. Then, I started to fry the oysters in batches, a few at a time. It was not at all scary, no big deal, and smelled really, really good. A little oil popped out, but nothing too terrible. If you, like me, are afraid to fry, don't be! You can do it!
|Frying going well.|
|Finished fried oysters.|
Can we stop talking about oysters for a brief second, and ask a pressing question? WHAT IS WITH MY HAIR in this picture? It looks like it is much shorter on one side. In reality, my hair is even on both sides, I promise! It is also about three inches longer than it appears here. It must have been twisted and turned in a very weird way. Embarrassing.
|Here I am, feeling very proud of my fried oyster platter, all thanks to Emeril's book. My hair does not look this weird in real life.|
|Finished oyster po' boy.|
|Guests enjoying the finished product.|
Lastly, something for YOU to look forward to...ONE sandwiches would hardly make October #SeriousSandwich fest a "fest" - I think a "fest" implies something over-the-top, don't you? Well, for this fest, I also made grilled pimento cheese sandwiches AND ice cream sandwiches, both from the Kicked-Up Sandwiches cookbook, and re-purposed the rillettes from last week. I promise to post about those later this week! The pimento cheese was my favorite sandwich from the book...so far. Yes, I liked it better than the oyster po' boy.