Oysters Po’ Tom

When I crave food, it’s not the typical food that most people would crave.  It’s not chocolate or warm bread fresh out of the oven with butter slathered on top (although that doesn’t sound half bad).  No, when I crave something, it’s usually something like mussels in saffron broth or pappardelle with black truffles.

Recently, I was craving oysters so Tom and I visited a new restaurant in town called Sea Change owned by James Beard award winner Tim McKee.  We liked it so much that we went there again two days later after finishing early from catering an event.  You would think that would satisfy my craving, but it didn’t.  My desire for oysters was insatiable but this time I decided to put my craving into my own hands.

The Oyster Po’ Boy is a classic sub sandwich originating out of New Orleans.  Typically, po’boys are made with some sort of fried sea food (shrimp, soft-shelled crab, catfish or crawfish) served on crusty French bread that’s crispy on the exterior, but light and airy on the interior.  The fried sea food is usually topped with tomatoes, lettuce and a spread of classic remoulade sauce.  Yes!  THIS, I decided, is what we’re having for dinner.  I now had to figure out how I was going to make these po’ boys without Tom seeing the work in progress.

At this point, let me explain something about Tom.  As much as he enjoys raw oysters, he’s VERY particular about it.  The oyster can’t be too big – generally something small like Kumamotos from the West Coast.  AND the oyster has to be in its shell.  You see, a bowl of shucked, jiggling oysters completely grosses Tom out.

As I was prepping for our meal, Tom walks into the kitchen and asks what’s for dinner.  I thought I had my shucked oysters well hidden until he started pawing through the ingredients.  When he saw my bowl of slimy goodness waiting to be breaded, he looked at me and said “Please.  Don’t make me eat this.”  I assured him that everything will be fine and that I’m even going to take it to the next level by using Japanese panko bread crumbs rather than the traditional bread crumbs.  He watched as I started to dip each oyster first in the egg wash, then in the panko bread crumbs.  Maybe it was the way the oysters were lined up neatly on a platter like little soldiers.  Or maybe it was the way I was struggling to keep the little slippery creatures in my hand during the dipping process.  Either way, it wasn’t long before he had to physically leave the room while everything was taking place.

When we finally sat down at the dinner table, I couldn’t wait to bite into my New Orleans delight.  I munched happily while eyeing Tom.  He took a long look at his sandwich then looked at me.  As if preparing himself for what he was about to do, he took a long swig from his cold Belgian beer then….picked up his po’ boy.

In the end, it was a wonderful meal and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Imagine warm, crusty French bread filled with plump fried oysters, tomatoes, lettuce and remoulade sauce.  Yep, I was happy.  What about Tom?  After licking his fingers and asking for seconds, I think he enjoyed himself just fine