by Nicki Wood
I got the oyster basket with the hand-breaded onion rings and the fantastic slaw. The place was packed, and the staff was doing a great job, even as more and more people poured through the door. The kitchen was rockin' — and singing, and slinging out the orders. My oysters arrived hard-fried, which I would normally have called "overcooked" except for two things:
First is the idea of hard-frying seafood. The wonderful meat-and-three At the Table on 12th Avenue asks patrons whether they prefer fish hard-fried or soft-fried. It gave me pause — I'd never been given the choice. I prefer somewhere in the middle, but it's nice that the cook can accommodate all tastes. And come to think of it, it's a useful tool for the home cook, as hard-frying is a good way to disguise the assertive flavor of a fishy fish like mackerel or croaker.
Second, a member of our party declared that they prefer a hard-fried oyster because they don't like "oyster guts" — In other words, they don't want their fried oysters squishy or juicy. Hard-frying takes care of that.
Like the lascivious deleted scene from Spartacus, I ask you, do you prefer your oysters soft or hard?