Crispy Fried Oysters with Smoky Bacon and Apple Ragout

Total Time:
55 min
20 min
Inactive Prep:
35 min
4 servings


  • 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 6 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into thirds
    • 1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb
    • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
    • 3 ribs celery, peeled and cut into small dice
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, small dice
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
    • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
    • 12 fresh extra-small oysters, shucked


    For the dredge for oysters: Mix together the cornmeal, flour, lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, celery and black pepper in a medium mixing bowl to incorporate.

    For the ragout: Melt the butter in a large saute pan or medium saucepan. Cook the bacon until crisp, and then drain off half of the fat from the pan. Add in the fennel, onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in the apples and continue to saute until they begin to soften and incorporate into the vegetable mixture, another 7 minutes.

    Add the apple cider, parsley, sage and thyme and cook to reduce the ragout until it begins to develop a thicker consistency and body, about 5 minutes.

    Once the cider has thickened and the vegetables and apples are stewed together, pour in the cream and reduce the liquid until it coats the back of a spoon. The ragout should be well incorporated, thick and stewy. Season with salt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Keep warm and set aside.

    For frying the oysters: Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F in a large cast-iron skillet. Toss the oysters in the dredge and fry until golden on one side, and then flip and continue frying until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the oysters to paper towels with a slotted spoon.

    Divide the ragout among 4 soup bowls. Place the oysters on top in each bowl and garnish with parsley.

    This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and may have been scaled down from a bulk recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.