By SARA MOULTON
In honor of St. Patrick's Day I have packed four Irish ingredients into one tasty little appetizer: oysters, cabbage, Guinness stout and Colman's Mustard.
What's that? The skeptics among you are claiming that fully half of those ingredients — the oysters and Colman's — are ringers? Not so. And here's why.
In search of inspiration, I dove into a shelf's worth of Irish cookbooks. To my surprise, oysters kept bobbing to the surface. So I concluded that the Irish love oysters. Unfortunately, they tend to love them most when they're swimming in cream.
Here in America we like our oysters fried. But I no more intended to fry these guys than to bathe them in cream. Not only is deep-frying unhealthy, it's also messy.
As I continued to pore over my Irish cookbooks, I noticed that Guinness stout appeared as an ingredient nearly as often as oysters. Suddenly, inspiration hit. When it comes to frying, my favorite batter is made with beer. Why not batter my oysters with Guinness (and a bit of flour, of course), then saute them?
A couple of years ago I learned how well it worked as a frying substitute when I used the technique on shrimp. Turns out it works just as well on oysters. As a result, this recipe requires only a single tablespoon of oil, instead of the 4 cups usually called for in deep-fat frying.
Now I just needed to sauce them up a bit, which brings us to Colman's Mustard. I know it's made in England, but that's close enough for me.
What I love about Colman's is that it's seriously hot. I added a generous dollop of the stuff to a combo of mayo and Greek yogurt, along with some chopped pickles.
The only thing missing now was a nod to one of Ireland's favorite vegetables after the potato, namely cabbage. So I topped this appetizer with shredded cabbage and carrots, tossed simply with cider vinegar, sugar and salt. The whole concoction came together very nicely. A true ode to Ireland.