• Tommy Centola

Getting out the deep fryer

With the popularity of air fryers these days, many people are using them to cook with less oil. I bought and used an air fryer twice. I have since sold it. I found that I get better results when I deep fry. There is no better protein to fry than seafood.

There are two keys to frying seafood. First, never overcrowd the basket. This will not only cause the food to fry unevenly, it also will drop the oil temperature too low. Second, always allow the fryer to come back up to temperature before your next batch. Today’s recipes feature an everyday dish, Fried Seafood PoBoy, and a fancy one, Oysters Benedict. Let’s get to the fryer.

You can’t fry seafood without the following two recipes. I know that corn meal is the popular seafood breading here in Arkansas. I prefer corn flour, which gives the fried seafood a smoother crust. You can use whichever you prefer. For the Egg Wash, it’s a simple way to ensure that the breading sticks to your seafood.

Seafood Breading

3 pounds corn flour

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. It will hold for 3 months.

Egg Wash

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 cup milk

Mix together. Use for battering meats and seafoods. Discard after use.

Other than a fried platter, the most common fried seafood dish is a PoBoy. This sandwich was named after the street car workers in New Orleans who were on strike in 1929. The Martin brothers promised to feed the striking workers. When they would come into the restaurant, they would say, “Here comes one of those PoBoy’s.” As you can see, any fried seafood make a great PoBoy. My wife’s favorite is half shrimp, half oyster.

Fried Seafood PoBoy

2 pounds Shrimp peeled, Catfish, Oysters or whatever seafood you choose.

Seafood Breading

Egg Wash

4 8-inch pieces of French bread, sliced in half lengthwise

Mayonnaise

Tomatoes sliced

Lettuce shredded

Pickle Slices

Ketchup

Hot Sauce (optional)

Heat a deep fryer to 350 ℉. Dip seafood in egg wash then coat with seafood breading. Shake off excess breading before putting in the fryer. Cook until seafood starts to float. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Prepare bread with mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and hot sauce. Add seafood and serve immediately.

This dish is a take on a traditional Eggs Benedict. As much as I like poached egg dishes, I’ll choose Oysters Benedict every time. The crunchiness of the oysters gives another layer of texture to the dish. I also like to add tasso to my Hollandaise sauce. I like the little added spice that it gives the finished dish.

Oysters Benedict

Canola oil for frying

32 freshly shucked oysters

Egg Wash

Seafood Breading

4 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered

8 sliced Canadian bacon, grilled

Tasso Hollandaise, recipe follows

Preheat deep fryer to 350 ℉. Preheat oven to 180 ℉.

Using 8-12 oysters at a time, dip oysters in egg wash, shaking off excess. Dredge the oysters in seafood breading, shaking off the excess. Fry the oysters for 3 minutes or until done (when they float to the top). Drain on paper towels and put in oven until all are fried.

Place two halves of English muffin on a serving plate. Place a slice of Canadian Bacon on each muffin half. Place 4 fried oysters on each muffin half. Top with Tasso Hollandaise and serve.

Tasso Hollandaise

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) margarine

1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 cup tasso, diced

Melt butter and margarine over medium heat. Bring to a boil, remove from fire and allow to cool. Blend egg yolks, egg, vinegar, lemon juice, white pepper and cayenne. With blender on, pour melted margarine/butter slowly into other ingredients. Blend until thick. Add Tasso. Keep warm until serving.

Whether it’s a simple dish or an elegant dinner, fried seafoods are a tasty way to satisfy your hunger. They also make a great addition to salads. But that’s for another day. Remember, don’t over crowd the basket and allow the oil to come back up to temperature. The result will be a greaseless seafood that is, in my opinion, a far superior to air frying.

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