It’s fall, so that means it is chicken wing season, but as I work in the land of bivalves, oysters will have to do. I decided to take a little spin on some crab fat caramel and drizzling it over some fried Willapa Bay oysters as a spicy and funky snack that is as easy as it is unique. I started with the recipe from Hot Joy, as the tangy, sweet, funktastic sauce they make for their wings is dangerously addictive, and poured it over some crispy and plump fried Willapa Bay oysters.
16oz shucked Willapa Bay oysters (or about 24 pieces), drained
½ c. fish sauce
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ c. Thai crab paste with bean oil (found in most Asian grocery stores)
1 clove garlic; smashed
2T lemon juice (or more if desired)
1t. ground coriander
1t. baking powder
1/2c plain seltzer water
1t. kosher salt
Canola Oil for frying
Chinese chili flake
Chopped scallions or chopped cilantro
In a medium saucepot, reduce the fish sauce by ½, then stir in the sugar. Once combined, turn the heat to medium and allow to reach 350F (I honestly did not measure the heat of the fish sugar, but waited until it was a slow and thick bubbling mass). Whisk in the crab paste and the smashed garlic clove and turn the heat to low, stirring slowly to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 T lemon juice and the coriander. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Slowly whisk in the seltzer to form a thick batter. The consistency should be like fluid, thin cake batter.
Dip the oysters to evenly coat in the batter and fry until light golden brown (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Dip each piece of fried oyster in the warm crab caramel halfway, or drizzle it on top. Garnish with the chili flakes and herbs. Serve immediately.