COCONUT AND CHILE CRUSTED OYSTERS WITH CARAMELIZED RED ONION-PINEAPPLE RELISH
First place in Appetizers and the Grand Prize winner
Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills, Calif.
INGREDIENTS FOR OYSTERS
2 doz. Maryland oysters
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. Asian chile sauce
1 c. dark beer
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1½ c. peanut oil
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
½ tsp. seafood seasoning
INGREDIENTS FOR RELISH
3 Tbs. clarified (unsalted) butter
1 (small) red onion, chopped
1¼ c. freshly chopped pineapple
¼ c. pineapple jam or preserve
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbs. freshly chopped basil
Boston lettuce leaves
Fresh lime wedges
Fresh basil leaves
Toss the oysters with the lime juice and chile sauce in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beer and flour to make a batter. Dip the oysters in the batter, one at a time, and then roll in coconut until all oysters have been coated. Heat both oils in a deep skillet to medium-high heat. Cook two minutes per side until coconut is light golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with seafood seasoning.
To make the relish, melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 20 minutes until caramelized. Cool to room temperature.
Stir together the fresh pineapple with the jam, lime juice, jalapeño and basil. Mix in caramelized onions. Line a platter with lettuce and basil leaves; arrange oysters over lettuce. Spoon relish onto coconut oysters and serve with fresh lime wedges.