Every year, like clockwork, around the beginning of February, my dad starts getting really excited. He grew up in New Orleans and February means only one thing to him: Mardi Gras!

Out come the bags and bags of purple, green and gold bead necklaces along with the stories about the raucous music, wild parades, lavish picnics, flambeaux and the amazingly ornate floats on Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day (Feb. 16 this year). And, of course, most importantly (at least to me) are the foods specific to a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

There’s the iconic king cake, dirty rice, jambalaya and my favorite, the po’boy. Po’boys, named after the sandwiches that fed the working-class people of New Orleans, can be stuffed with a variety of options: meat, shrimp, fried chicken and, of course, oysters. Given that we have such a bounty of delicious local Washington oysters to choose from, I picked the oyster to grace our Mardi Gras po’boys this year.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Oyster po’boys

Small- and medium-size mixing bowls
Deep large frying pan
Wire rack or baking sheet covered in foil

For the rémoulade sauce:
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup dill pickles, minced
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the oysters:
2 quarts vegetable oil
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
4 large eggs
24 oysters, can used jarred or freshly shucked
Salt to taste

For serving:
4 soft French rolls, lightly toasted
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
¾ cup pickle chips


  1. Sauce: In a small mixing bowl, stir together mayo, pickles, hot sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set bowl aside.
  2. Oysters: In a medium-size bowl, whisk your eggs with a third of the flour. In another bowl, mix together the remaining flour and cornmeal.
  3. Take a few oysters and, working in batches, dredge the oysters in the flour/cornmeal mixture and cover all areas evenly. Then take your floured oyster and place in the egg mixture to coat evenly. Gently shake off excess batter. Return the oysters back to the flour mixture for another coating. Place floured oysters to the side and repeat until all the oysters are evenly coated.
  4. Cooking oysters: In your frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat (if you have a thermometer, it should reach about 375 degrees). Gently place your oysters into the oil, for about two to three minutes, flipping them over at the halfway mark with a spatula. Place the fried oysters on a wire rack or on a foil-covered baking sheet to rest. Season with salt to taste.
  5. To assemble: Cut open rolls and lightly toast them. Spread both sides with rémoulade sauce. Place lettuce, tomatoes, pickle slices and oysters evenly among rolls.

Serve and laissez les bons temps rouler!