A retro food fix: crumbed oysters


It’s a little passé, but i love crumbed oysters. I know that hardcore oyster aficionados will roll their eyes with disdain. I know also that oysters eaten in the nude (the mollusc that is, not the eater), with just a splash of lemon, are a delicacy (I love them that way, too). But at the moment i’m going through a crumbed oyster phase — so don’t try to talk me out of it.

I take the pearly bodies, dust them with flour, dunk them in egg wash, douse them with breadcrumbs — the big, ‘Panko’, Japanese-style crumb — then dip them, fleetingly, into a pan of molten oil. It should take a matter of seconds for them to metamorphose to light, golden brown.

You need to work quickly. Pull them from the pan, drain them on kitchen roll, and sprinkle with salt. An accompanying tartare sauce should be ready to roll. The half shells, washed clean then dried in a warm oven, should be sitting on a platter, atop a bed of rock salt. 

Pop an oyster in each half shell, then get them to the table (or into your gob, if you’re not entertaining) — quick, smart.

There is luxury in that initial brittle bite, which releases the first whiff of oyster — that unmistakable, sharp, briny note – and the secondary encounter with the creamy, and  hopefully still hot, interior.

These babies take seconds to cook and disappear just as quickly, so make twice as many as you think you’ll eat. Forget manners — fend for yourself, get to the platter fast, and fork them into your mouth often. That’s my best advice.

What’s your retro food indulgence?

Postscript: I make a delicate tartare sauce comprising mayonnaise, lemon juice, rinsed salted baby capers (chopped), snipped chives, and minutely diced shallot and baby gherkins. Season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Precise measurements are irrelevant: go with what tastes right.



Filed under Produce, Recipes

20 responses to “A retro food fix: crumbed oysters

  1. I love raw oysters, but I also love them cooked. Poached oysters are divine, fried are heavenly, and grilled are amazing. Eat what you love. These look absolutely delicious.


  2. Good for you, Rachel. You know, I love oysters natural, but one of the BEST oyster dishes I ever ate was an oyster soufflé… that is a soufflé in a large oyster… at a restaurant in SA… I can’t think of the name of it right now. It was so delicious! Love this recipe, might just try it. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Not a fan of cooked oysters but deep fried oysters are always ok with me! And having recently enjoyed a very good homemade version recently, I reckon there’s still some life yet in the good ol’ prawn cocktail!


  4. Not a fan of oysters in general, preferring mussels (which I also crumb’n’ fry). On the subject of retro food Rachel, how’s this for a start: French onion soup, avocado vinaigrette (or with crab/tuna), meatloaf (with whole hard-boiled eggs in the middle), veal cordon bleu. I’m ashamed to say I cooked all of these recently and thoroughly enjoyed them. OK, back to my dungeon now.


    • Wow – you beat me hands down. I love a good slurp of onion soup, but tend to make it only in winter. I’ve never ever come across avocado vinaigrette (having grown up in the UK) – but just Googled it & reckon i’ll give it a go before this here hot summer is out. Meatloaf: thought that was a band! Veal Cordon Bleu – you need a medal for that one! Love your work, lady!


  5. When you next come to Brisbane try the baked oysters at Papa Jacks. I have never liked oysters, was persuaded to try these and they were pretty good. My favourite retro food is also French Onion Soup. However that may change as I have about 30 cookbooks from the 1970s to cook from as part of my 2014 Cooking the Books challenge 🙂


  6. My Kitchen Stories

    I love a fresh natural oyster but I could most definitely be enticed into several of these, especially with your tartare sauce


  7. We all know that passe is just a hop skip and a jump from retro. You can even go all hipster and say you were eating them before they were cool. Let your oyster flag fly. They sound marvelous!


  8. I’ll have to try these for my husband as he keeps asking for something different. Everything is better with panko.


  9. um … i don’t like shellfish of any kind, naked or otherwise! but your tartare sauce sounds zo zingy!
    and i love what bricimino says above about passe and retro. reminded me of the curly parsley sold at the local farmers’ market as ‘retro parsley’ !


    • Haven’t come across retro parsley … yet – though know the ‘unfashionable’ kind you’re both talking about!! Tartare sauce is gold – pure gold – if you get the composition of ingredients right! I add English mustard and horseradish sauce if i’m serving it with beer-battered fish.


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