Cornmeal Fried Oysters with a Salad of Organic Greens and Lemon-Caper Aioli

Check out the related video story: The Vision: A Sustainable Restaurant Creating a restaurant from the ground up is an ambitious endeavor in itself. To base the theme of such a restaurant around locally produced food, good land stewardship, and preserving social tastes is even more grand. Stu Stein, owner of Terroir (pronounced, tεʀwaʀ, in French) shares his philosophy and vision.

Stu has always been a fan of Oyster Po’Boy sandwiches — the classic fare from New Orleans —a French baguette, hollowed out and stuffed with fried oysters and lots of tartar sauce.This is our tribute but with a slight twist. This version is an appetizer course, but the size could easily be doubled and the dish served as an entrée.

Ingredients: Cornmeal Fried Oysters

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 18 oysters, shucked and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Ingredients: Lemon-Caper Aioli

  • 11 slices white bread,crusts removed, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 2-4 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon capers, nonpareilles, roughly chopped

Ingredients: Greens

  • 6-8 slices all-natural bacon, cut into small dice
  • 10-12 ounces organic mixed greens, cleaned
  • 12 caper berries, with stems
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions To Prepare The Oysters

  1. To make the coating mixture, combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and salt in a bowl. Toss several oysters at a time in the coating.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until a thermometer registers 350°F.
  3. Fry the oysters in small batches for 1 minute on each side.
  4. Drain and remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Keep warm.

Instructions To Prepare The Aioli

  1. Soak the bread pieces in the vinegar or milk for 5 minutes or until saturated with liquid.
  2. Pound in the egg yolk and salt. Using a whisk, slowly whip the olive oil into the egg mixture, little by little, until a thick emulsion is formed.
  3. Stir in lemon juice. Aioli should have the consistency of a dressing. Thin aioli with warm water if necessary.
  4. Add capers.

Instructions To Prepare The Greens

  1. Render the bacon by placing it in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, about 12 to 15 minutes, until crisp.
  2. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.

To Serve:

  • Toss the greens with salt, pepper, bacon and half of of the aioli.
  • Divide the greens evenly onto six plates.
  • Place hot oysters and caper berries around the greens and drizzle with remaining aioli.
  • Advance Preparation:

  • The aioli may be made ahead and kept for several days in the refrigerator.
  • This recipe yields more aioli than needed for the salad; the extra aioli makes a great spread for sandwiches.

Yield: makes 6 appetizer servings

Recipe compliments of Stu Stein, Terroir Restaurant & Wine Bar

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