Buffalo Fried Oysters

Moving into 2019, getting more locally-centric recipes up on the blog is definitely on my agenda. And here on Chincoteague Island, it really doesn’t get any more locally-centric than the Chincoteague oyster, does it?

Renowned for it’s saltiness – you’ll find them gracing the menu at top-tier oyster bars all over the country. And, you can find them gracing the menu at the Davis table pretty often as well. Sometimes we get lucky and a waterman friend has a surplus, gifting us with a peck or two. Or, I scoot down the street to Gary Howard Seafood, where they’ve always got fresh oysters (along with lots of other great seafood) at a very reasonable price. Either way, they’re easy to come by this time of year here on our little island – even when nothing else is!

Of course they’re wonderful to eat on the half, or a fancier application like Oysters Rockefeller is always a hit. But, hard pressed, I’d say “single-fried” is our favorite way to enjoy them. This recipe adds a spicy twist to that local standard, which would be ideal for those gaming get-togethers coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Hey y’all! It was a whirlwind summer spending most of our time out on the boat, which led into a whirlwind fall with school starting, and soccer, and Scouts. We certainly made the most of it, but now that the weather has finally turned to fallish behavior, I’m excited to be in the kitchen more often.

I’ve had this one hanging around in draft posts for months now. Figured I should take the opportunity to share this recipe from over the summer that we really enjoyed, before I delve into the heavier cold weather stuff…

I’ve long been a fan of things prepared in a foil packet, we’ll make them quite a bit when out on the boat or camping. They’re easy, tasty, and offer an easy cleanup – a trifecta of awesomeness when it comes to diining in the open outdoors. But this one. This one really takes it to a whole new level on the flavor front, guys.

Composed of ingredients that are plentiful here in my neck of the woods, but also readily available elsewhere – tender littleneck clams, shrimp, sweet corn on the cob, baby red potatoes, smoked sausage, and a few lemon slices. Sealed up in a piece of aluminum foil and tossed on a hot grill, the juices that are released as the items cook are sealed in, creating a perfectly prepared packet.

A pretty heavy clambake, with minimal effort and time.






Soft-shell season has arrived here along the Eastern Shore. All up and down the Chesapeake Bay, hardworking waterman are tending to shedding tables watching crabs bust out of their old shells, then pulling them from the water while they’re still soft and pliable, and shipped to crab connoisseurs all over the world.

Handy Seafood, located in Salisbury and Crisfield, helps them get where they need to go. They’ve been around forever. Whenever I look to an favorite old Chesapeake Bay cookbook – they ALL mention Handy. And they are still getting nods in publications – they were just mentioned in Food & Wine magazine this month. So when they reached out to me about sponsoring a post, I felt honored to be working with such a beloved local company – and jumped at the chance!

While I’m usually going straight to the source to get my crabs, I know many of you guys can’t. If that’s the case, you definitely need to check out Handy’s online store. They ship chilled and frozen crabs just about anywhere! They arrive fully cleaned and dressed, so all you have to do is figure out how you want to enjoy them. Which, was a nice change of pace for me.  But, if you do have to clean your own – click here for a great video on how-to (featuring yours truly).

They’ve got a ton of great recipes on their website, but I went with an old favorite that is found in John Shield’s Chesapeake Bay Cooking. The recipe was submitted to John by the guys in the crabhouse at Handy back in the 80’s. So, I thought it would be cool to bring the Beer Battered Soft Shells to the party.  If anyone knows how to prepare a soft shell – it’s the guys who work with them all day long. Am I right?

The batter is easy to whip up, and the crabs fry up beautifully. Perfectly golden and crunchy on the outside, tender sweet crab on the inside. I put them on a sandwich with a little tartar sauce, but I think they’d be excellent on a simple salad as well. And what an impressive presentation they make!

Summer is here on the Shore, get out there and enjoy everything that it has to offer.

Beer-Battered Soft Shells

1 1/2 cups flour (divided)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp Old Bay
1 (12 oz) beer
6 soft-shell crabs (cleaned)
vegetable oil, for frying
tartar sauce and lemon wedges

Mix 1 1/4 cup flour, salt, baking powder, paprika, and Old Bay in a small bowl. Mix in the beer and whisk until smooth. Let batter sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours to thicken.

Add remaining flour to a pie plate or dish and lightly dust softs with flour, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

Pour oil into a deep skillet to a depth of about 1 inch and heat to 375.

Gently dip each crab into the batter to coat evently, use a fork to lift out – give a few taps to let excess batter drip off. Gently slide the crabs into the hot oil, being careful to not overcrowd pan. Fry to golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side.

Remove to paper towel lined tray to drain briefly.

Serve immediately with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Source: adapted from Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Sheilds

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Handy Seafood. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.






Fall has arrived here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia – which means, oyster harvests are in full swing in the waters surrounding our little peninsula. From the salts on the seaside, to the sweeter guys harvested out of the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers on the western shore – we have such an amazing variety of oysters in Virginia.

A couple of weeks ago the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce hosted it’s 45th Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival – an event that’s anticipated all year long. Fried oysters, steamed oysters, raw oysters…a true celebration of the briny bivalve.

I was running around taking photos to earn my keep, in exchange for my ticket. But, I managed to tote over my little portable grill and snag a few oysters to throw on it, to get some photos to share of this super easy way to prepare them with you guys.

Oysters on the half, brushed with a simple garlic-herb butter while on the grill. Couldn’t get easier, delicious, or more impressive. If shucking isn’t your thing, you can steam them until they pop open, and then pry off the top shell – the garlic butter will still keep them plump and juicy.

If you’re really lucky, like I was on this particular day, you may find a tiny friend lurking inside your oyster. Pea crabs are considered a delicacy by many around here, tender yet slightly crunchy little crustacean parasites that like to set up shop inside our oysters. We eat them, but if it’s not your thing – by all means, serve them their final eviction notice before enjoying.

A few minutes on the grill is all you need, just until you see the butter start to sizzle. A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish.  Enjoy them hot, and be prepared to reload the grill. You can’t eat just one!