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Fried Oysters With Garlic Rice

Fried Oysters With Garlic Rice 2.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Oct 27, 2020

This simple dish requires you to do one thing just right: Lightly fry the oysters. The bivalves are coated in cornmeal and cornstarch, and then fried until just crunchy on the outside but still custardy on the inside. In her cookbook, “Mosquito Supper Club” (Artisan, 2020), Melissa M. Martin, who is the owner of the Mosquito Supper Club restaurant in New Orleans, suggests tossing the freshly fried oysters in butter and hot sauce and serving them over rice. We tweaked her recipe by adding garlic to the rice.

Shucked oysters usually are sold by the pint. The number of oysters in a pint will vary dramatically depending on their size. For example, small oysters may come as many as 25 to 30 to a pint, while a pint of medium or large oysters could yield 16 to 18 per pint.

Where to Buy: Shucked oysters can be found at well-stocked grocery stores, seafood markets and online.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings

  • For the rice
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the oysters
  • Peanut oil or another neutral oil, for frying
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) fine-ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pint shucked oysters, well-drained (See headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Hot sauce, to taste, plus more for serving
  • For serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving
  • Scant 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, for serving
  • Lemon, optional


In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt the butter, add the rice and toss to coat. Add the water, whole garlic cloves and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat, add 3 inches of oil and heat to 375 degrees. Use an instant-read thermometer or test the oil by dropping a bit of cornmeal into it. If it sizzles, the oil is ready.

Set a paper-lined tray next to the stove.

In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal, cornstarch, salt, black pepper and cayenne.

Dredge the oysters in the cornmeal mixture and carefully add them to the hot oil. Use caution: Oysters have a lot of water in them, so they will pop and sputter in the hot oil. If they do not, the oil is not hot enough.

Look for the oysters to turn a light golden and “quiet down.” As soon as an oyster has stopped sputtering, lift it out using a spider, slotted spoon or tongs. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the oyster, so it is better to use your eyes and ears. It should take 1 to 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Do not crowd the oysters in the pot. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Place the fried oysters on the paper-lined tray to drain. Then, transfer the drained, fried oysters to a large bowl, drizzle the 2 tablespoons butter over and add about 12 shakes — or more — of hot sauce. Toss together.

Ready the rice: The garlic cloves should be resting atop the rice in the pot. Mash them against the side of the pot and fluff the garlic into the rice with a fork.

Transfer half of the rice to a shallow bowl. Add a generous pile of oysters and sprinkle the dish with parsley and scallions. Repeat with second bowl. Serve with a lemon wedge, if using, and additional hot sauce, if desired.

VARIATION (or for leftover fried oysters): For one serving, toast 2 slices of thick-cut bread. Spread mayonnaise on one slice, top with a slice of tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper. Top with fried oysters and add iceberg lettuce, pickles and hot sauce, if desired. Serve open-faced or closed.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Mosquito Supper Club” by Melissa M. Martin (Artisan, 2020)

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

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