The Secret To Frying Oysters Perfectly + Recipe

4 people
31 min

After testing fried oyster recipes, I figured out the secret to frying oysters perfectly is combining flours, and perfecting fry time.

There’s a French restaurant in downtown Poughkeepsie that has the best fried oyster appetizer. The oysters are fried perfectly, nestled over a bell pepper relish and with a dab of garlic aioli over top. Scrumpdelish. It’s the kind of dish that you think about, almost obsessively, until you eat it again. I did muster up the nerve to ask the chef to share the recipe, but natch, he was tight-lipped.

Didn’t share a single detail.

As I didn’t take a single photo of the dish, I can only go from visual memory. So I set out to try and recreate this favored appetizer, starting with frying the oysters. The goal: a light, airy batter with an end result of a perfectly cooked oyster. Not chewy nor rubbery.

I tried everything from a general purpose flour coating, to potato flakes, to even bread crumbs. The oysters either came out too cake-y or just downright awful. And, with all this, I had to come up with the Goldilocks of frying time.

All this lead me to the reasoning that I needed to combine flours, and so I turned to semolina flour. A super fine flour that has now become my secret ingredient to frying delicate foods. On its own proved that the oysters needed a little more umph, but combining equal parts semolina flour and all purpose flour was just right. For the frying time, as oysters are so delicate, a quick in and out of the oil for only 30 seconds is all it took to produce perfect fried oysters.

For the relish, I combined yellow, orange, and red bell pepper for good color, and added cucumber to stay with the relish I remembered. A simple sherry vinaigrette to bring on the party, and that dab of garlic aioli to make it perfection. Served on these custom oyster plates, and I have to say they not only taste exactly how I remember, but they display is equally as pretty.

Here is my recipe for Fried Oysters with Bell Pepper Relish and Garlic Aioli.

A couple side notes first: My favorite way to fry food is in my good ol’ Fry Daddy. It’s tried and true and although a little outdated, always fries perfectly. Second, I had a hard time finding semolina flour at any of our local grocery stores, so here is where I purchased it from.

The Secret To Frying Oysters Perfectly + Recipe
Recipe details
  • 4  people
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 1 Minutes Total time: 31 min
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For The Oysters
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup general purpose flour
  • 1 tsp course salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 24 raw, shucked oysters in their liquor
For The Bell Pepper Relish
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped and seeded cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp course salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
For The Bell Pepper Relish
Combine chopped bell peppers and cucumber to a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine minced garlic, mustard, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk until fully combined.
Pour sherry mixture over bell peppers and cucumbers and stir to combine. Set aside.
For The Oysters
Add oil to fry daddy and preheat to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine semolina and general purpose flours with a whisk.
Place oysters straight from their liquor into the flour and toss to coat.
Carefully drop into hot oil and fry for 30 seconds.
Let cool slightly on paper towel lined baking sheet.
To Assemble
Spoon a tablespoon or so of bell pepper relish inside oyster shell.
Place one fried oyster on each shell, finishing with a dab of garlic aioli. This recipe calls for 6 oysters per person, equaling four servings.
Serve immediately.
  • The recipe to garlic aioli is linked above, and truly is an added bonus to this recipe.
Farmhouse 1820
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