And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Experimental
by: Wes

OYSTERS! Long known for their purported aphrodisiacal properties, these delectable shellfish have been prized not only for their tasty flesh, but for their mysterious ability to create shining pearls from only tiny grains of sand. We don't do jewelry on Scary-Crayon, though, so that latter property of these stingy sea-dwellers (why stingy? 'cause they're shellfish!), however oysterrific, isn't our concern. No, friends, we're here to make OYSTER LOAF!

Prepare... for OYSTER LOAF!

Strangely enough, there's actually a story behind the genesis of this seemingly random dish. Perhaps you're aware that they serve oysters at Hooters restaurants -- and moreover that, in addition to their famous wings, the oysters are one of the chain's main draws. It's actually kind of cruel, if you think about it. I mean, the places are filled with hot, busty women in skimpy clothing who'll siddle up to you and strike flirty poses and even bring you food, and then, to make things worse, they serve a dish that's known for making people horny? If some customer ever goes berserk and tries to rape every waitress in the joint, I think he'd have a good case for negligence on the part of the establishment! It's too bad Johnny Cochran's not alive to defend him, though -- 'cause that would be really funny. Get it? Cock-ran! R.I.P., Johnny.

Edible heroes in a half-shell!Anyway, one Saturday night I decided I'd like to try some raw oysters on the half-shell before making my way to the local goth spot (for no particular reason, of course...), and -- coincidence of coincidences! -- I happened to spy an advertisement for a nearby Hooters while standing in the subway terminal. So I made my way to the restaurant, ordered a glass of white Sangria and a plate of onion rings (fun Wes fact: I order onion rings like everywhere I go), and then expressed a desire to try some oysters to my waitress. And here's where things got interesting.

I still don't know what she was talking about, but when I asked about the roasted oysters, she started going on about a menu item she called "oyster roast" -- which she described as being kind of like an oyster loaf. Just hearing her talk about this oyster loaf thing made my mouth water, so I ordered this loaf of oysters, whereupon she nodded, complimented me on my choice, and disappeared to take the order to the cook. Yet several minutes later she returned, apologized, and said that she was thinking of something else, for -- woe! -- there was no oyster roast to be found at Hooters!

It's still dry, you see.However, still enthralled by her description, I pressed her for more information about this oyster roast, this oyster loaf -- whether it had been a previous menu item, whether they still served it at select Hooters locations, whether I could obtain it from another restaurant in the city, exactly what ingredients it contained, etc. -- until finally, and possibly annoyed, though hiding it well with her feigned flirtatiousness, she pointedly said, "Forget I said anything about that." But I couldn't forget about it. I haven't forgotten about it. I could never forget about it. The fabled Oyster Loaf. I have to have it. You have to have it. We have to have it. And have it we shall.

Now, there are a number of ways one might go about creating an oyster loaf -- and if you've got some more, I'd definitely be interested in hearing them. Here, however, I decided to go about creating the dish pretty much the same way I do everything else -- whipping out pancake batter and frying that sucker in oil -- so basically, what I came up with isn't entirely unlike an oyster pancake (not to be confused with The Official Scary-Crayon Tuna Pancake, our very first edible offering). As you see in the picture waaay above, however, I've made a few changes to the ingredients. Since I've heard it said that people like oysters to be sweet, I decided to replace pancake batter with corn muffin mix -- which, if you're familiar with it, has a cake-like sweetness about it. What it doesn't do, however, is form a batter that holds together very well when fried, so I decided to add some flour to the mix to see if that would improve the consistency of the mixture once submerged in the oil. And, of course, an oyster loaf requires oysters, hence the can of whole oysters from Chicken of the Sea! By the way, I think mermaids are sexy.

Yep.So as seen above, the first thing to do is add flour and corn muffin mix to a bowl and stir the contents for a bit to get them to mix together. How much of each ingredient you'll want to use is up to you, but for this experiment I probably used in the neighborhood of 60-70% flour and 30-40% corn muffin mix. Combined, I'd say you probably shouldn't use more than 1/3 cup of stuff, but that's just for those of you who actually use measuring cups! I didn't this time -- I just kinda eyeballed it -- but I think it's safe to say that I overshot that suggestion.

Anyway, when you finish up with that, you'll need to stir water into the mix to make it into batter. Now, you could use tap water (or purified water, etc.), but here's another suggestion: The can of oysters is pretty much filled with water -- and pre-flavored oyster water at that -- so why not just use that? You'll help save the oceans and impress everyone with your resourcefulness to boot. I didn't do that in this experiment, though, as I considered that, given the saltiness of the oyster water, it would possibly detract from the sweetness of the batter (which had already been toned down quite a bit by the heavy concentration of flour). But if I had to do it over again (and I totally will), I'd definitely give it a shot.

Oysters in a can!Mmmmmmmmmm... oysters.

So now that your batter's ready, it's time to add the oysters! Grab a can opener and crack open your tin o' shellfish. Inhale that oysterrific aroma; pop a couple into your mouth (but don't eat them all!); perhaps even raise the can to your lips and drink down a bit of that salty oyster water! Mmmmmmmmmm... oysters. Anyway, once you're finished pleasuring yourself with those delectable yet actually kinda gross-looking little bastards, drain the water (or use it to make the batter) and add the contents of the can to the batter mix like so...

Looks... kinda gross, actually.Oyster batter leads to baby batter.

...and then go ahead and stir it in real good, such that the oysters are completely covered and become ONE with the mix itself. If you want -- and I'm not saying that I recommend doing so at this stage of the game; it's just a suggestion -- you could go ahead and toss in some seasonings now, as opposed to during the frying process. Salt, pepper, what have you -- it's up to you. I suppose you could also do some quality control here as well. For instance, in this experiment (as seen in the rightmose pic above), I think it's apparent that I used a little too much batter -- so one could theoretically remove some of the batter in the hopes of making sure that one ends up with an oyster loaf and not a sweet batter loaf with miniscule bits of oyster inside. Mmmmkay?

It's time... to fry!See?

So once you're satisfied with the oyster-batter mix, you know what to do -- add it to the frying pan and watch the contents sizzle. If you're like me, you've always got a grease-filled frying pan warming up on the stove, but if not, you may want to relegate your batter to the freezer while you wait for the pan to warm up, as it may help to ensure that your batter is thicker when you finally begin to fry it. You might also utilize this stretch of time to pour yourself a drink and/or look for other things to fry! I like to do my frying for the week all at once.  :)

Fryin', fryin'...Fry that oyster loaf up good.

See, I added some onion rings! Anyway, you know the drill -- keep an eye on your oyster loaf, making sure to flip it multiple times during the frying process in order to ensure that both sides (or, if you formed yours into an actual loaf, all six sides) receive equal attention. And if yours is as big as mine, you may want to break it up in the pan, as a monster of that size doesn't tend to want to cooperate when you turn it over! Given the likelihood of grease splattering when that happens, that's bad! Hot grease isn't the best feeling spray in the world, kids.

The finished OYSTER LOAF!So when you finish, here's what you should more/less have -- a sufficiently browned oyster loaf (and whatever the hell else you decided to fry alongside it)! Like I said, I used a little too much batter for this one, so yours may be a little smaller, but that's the idea. Looks GREAT, doesn't it? If you're wondering how it tastes, it pretty much tastes like fried oysters, if you've ever had them. There are differences, though -- namely due to the inclusion of the corn muffin mix. While, per the prevalence of flour in the mixture, the sweetness didn't come through as well as I'd hoped, it's definitely noticeable, and the cornmeal texture is a pleasant addition to the already crispy loaf. In future oyster loaf experiments, then, I'd either increase the amount of corn muffin mix in the batter or add something else to sweeten it, whether that entailed, say, putting brown sugar into it (there's an idea...) or simply spreading ketchup or cocktail sauce over the loaf after it's finished cooking. I'm sure you can come up with your own suggestions, though! Enjoy! Experiment! Oyster loaf brings out the creative chef in us all.  :)


I decided to make a sandwich with cocktail sauce out of part of my oyster loaf! What will you do with yours?  :)

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