Pan-fried or deep-fried oysters are a delicious treat with a rich, briny taste. Oysters pair well with citrus, black pepper, cream, corn, artichokes and other savory flavors. They are especially popular in French, Southern and Asian cuisines. Fried oysters are especially delicious with dipping sauces and condiments, or they may be served with salad, soup, bread or even other fried foods, such as French fries. Champagne or white wine are excellent foils for the lush taste of classic fried oysters, as are some crisp beers.
Condiments and Dipping Sauces for Fried Oysters
If you're wondering what to serve with fried oysters, start with sauces and condiments. Favorite dressings and dipping sauces for fried oysters include remoulade, a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce; citrus vinaigrettes, tartar sauce, ponzu dipping sauce, tomato or corn-based salsas, and fresh herb purees like basil pesto. It's very easy to concoct a mignonette, a sauce traditionally spooned over fresh shucked oysters that is just as good with fried ones. Simply blend finely minced shallots into a wine vinegar (red, white or Champagne) and add a touch of sugar and black pepper.
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Don't overlook the simplest condiments, such as liberal dashes of malt vinegar, hot sauce such as Tabasco, or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. The best dipping sauces for fried oysters tend to combine creamy and acidic elements, both of which complement the oysters' deep, meaty flavor. Some oyster sauces may include alcoholic ingredients, such as Pernod, vermouth, beer or white wine.
Classic Fried Oysters with Soups & Salads
An excellent accompaniment to fried oysters is a creamy soup or cool gazpacho. Cream of artichoke soup, cream of celery soup, cream of chanterelle soup and cream of chicken soup are all strong options, as are tomato, corn or shallot bisques, which may be served hot or cold. Tomato or red pepper gazpacho can be a light, refreshing side, mitigating the heaviness of the fried oysters while enhancing their fullness and savor.
Salad is another great choice when you're wondering what to serve with fried oysters to transform them into a light and delicious full meal. These may be composed of everything from vinegar-dressed greens to fresh radishes and cucumbers. Sometimes citrus fruits, like grapefruit, work well in balancing the richness of fried oysters. Slaws made from cabbage, carrots and other fresh vegetables are often paired with fried oysters in Southern and Asian cuisines.
Don’t Forget Breads & Crackers
Few things are as delicious as classic fried oysters served with fresh, crusty French bread. In fact, this is the base for the famous New Orleans oyster po' boy sandwich. Smear a French roll with remoulade, add some sliced beefsteak tomatoes and shredded lettuce, then stuff classic fried oysters inside for a taste of New Orleans, anywhere. Veer from the traditional po' boy and substitute other types of bread, such as sourdough bread or ciabatta, and switch up the condiments to make the fried oyster sandwich your own.
You might also top crackers with fried oysters; pepper crackers are especially favored for this purpose. When serving fried oysters with bread or crackers, don't overlook the sauces. It's always a treat to dip bread into the sauces, especially when they mingle with juices from the fried oysters.
More Foods to Serve with Fried Oysters
There are so many options to consider when you want to know what to serve with fried oysters. Restaurants often serve fried oysters with French fries, onion rings or sweet potato fries. Another popular option is to fold fried oysters into omelets, along with scallions, fresh herbs and bacon. Corn in many forms goes well with fried oysters, from creamed corn with pimentos to corn on the cob.
Why not browse some seafood restaurant menus and take inspiration from the side dishes and sauces their chefs serve with fried oysters?
- Food Network: Fried Oysters with Tomato-Remoulade Sauce
- Louisiana Kitchen & Culture: New Orleans Oyster Po Boy With Remoulade
- Oysters XO: The Five Best Sauces to Pair With Your Oysters
- PracticallyEdible.com: Oysters
- What's Cooking America: Pan-Fried Oysters
- Food and Wine: Pan-Fried Oysters with Creamy Radish & Cucumber Salad