Episode 10 Hilah’s Texas Kitchen: Oyster Nachos!
Evangeline Cafe is one of Austin’s best-loved Cajun restaurants. Chef and owner Curtis Clarke hails from Lake Charles Louisiana and for 10 years has been making friends through his delicious food and nightly live music. Perhaps Evangeline’s most famed item is their Oysters Contraband, or “oyster nachos” as they are affectionately referred to … by myself and Chris. A large Gulf oyster, lightly breaded and fried then served on top of a house-made Kettle chip and served generously drenched in a special remoulade that incorporates ground sausage and jalapeño. These are not for delicate eaters. Listed as an appetizer, I personally would be happy to eat an entire order of them myself and call it dinner.
The praline stuffed pistolette is another favorite. A single-serving French roll, hollowed out and stuffed with brown sugar and pecans, then deep fried and served with a cinnamon caramel sauce makes for a decadent dessert that’s perfect for sharing. Or not sharing. Try one with a mug of Community coffee. It’s heavenly.
Below you’ll find my version of Oyster Nachos. Admittedly more Tex-Mex than Tex-Cajun, but just as tasty. If you like a milder remoulade sauce, replace the oil with mayonnaise and reduce the mustard to 1/4 cup.
- Remoulade Sauce:
- ⅓ cup spicy mustard
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons grated horseradish
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- Cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup light-flavored oil (canola, light olive, safflower, sunflower, etc)
- ¼ cup minced celery hearts and leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced green onion
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- Dash hot pepper sauce
- up to ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Oyster Nachos:
- 1 pint shucked oysters (about 8 large oysters)
- ½ cup corn meal (aka “fine polenta” in Europe)
- ½ cup oil for frying
- Thick tortilla chips or potato chips
- Combine all ingredients through black pepper.
- Stream in oil slowly, whisking, to form an emulsion.
- Add all other ingredients, adjusting for salt and heat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Makes about 1¼ cups sauce and leftover sauce will keep in refrigerator a week. This sauce also goes well with fried fish and french fries.
- Drain oysters and roll lightly in cornmeal. Set aside while you heat the oil.
- Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high.
- Fry oysters for about 1 minute on each side until crisp and golden brown.
- Drain on paper and sprinkle with salt.
- Assemble “nachos” with chips, remoulade sauce, fried oysters.
- Garnish with pickled jalapeños and/or sliced green onion.