An oyster po’ boy is a classic New Orleans sandwich made of oysters breaded in cornmeal and fried until crisp. Set on a white roll, slathered in mayo and topped with iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, it isn’t exactly health food. But if you ditch the white bread and cornmeal, the oyster po’ boy can be reincarnated as a salad that’s really good in its own right.
Fried oysters, it turns out, are a delicious salad topper. In this Primal version of an oyster po’ boy, the oysters are breaded in tapioca flour. Crunchy on the outside and juicy in the middle, they’re perfect tossed with cool iceberg lettuce, fresh tomatoes and a creamy, tangy dressing.
The amount of fresh oysters you’ll need for this salad depends on the type of oysters you’re buying. Some are quite small, and others, much larger. Err on the side of buying more rather than less; you’re likely to pop a few of the fried morsels in your mouth before they even make it in the salad (and you might want to slurp down a few raw, too). Plus, oysters provide a generous amount of B-vitamins, vitamin A and E, folate, copper, selenium, and zinc. However you choose to prepare them, oysters are a supplemental food that should be a regular part of your diet in this new year.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and tomatoes. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, smoked paprika, capers and parsley. Refrigerate until ready to toss the salad.
In a medium bowl or on a rimmed plate, mix together the tapioca flour, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the oysters to the egg whites, stirring so the oysters are well coated. Remove the oysters with a fork or slotted spoon, leaving behind any of the egg white liquid that isn’t clinging to the oysters.
One by one, dredge the oysters through the tapioca flour, coating each side.
Pour the sunflower oil into a deep, heavy pot (using 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of oil for frying). Heat the oil over medium-high until it’s shimmering. Test the oil temperature by tossing in a tiny fleck of the tapioca flour; it should bubble and fry immediately.
Cook the oysters in two batches for 2 minutes a side, until lightly browned and crispy. Add to the bowl of lettuce and tomatoes. Toss with the salad dressing.