Ringing in 2015 – Menu, Gameplan, and Recipe for Oven Fried Oysters with Celery Salad and Aioli

January 5, 2015  •  Appetizers, Fish & Seafood, Menus

new years eve 2015 table setting-1New Year’s Eve has always been my favorite holiday to celebrate with friends, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually put by finger on why. Author Buzzy Jackson said in a recent interview that for people who believe that what you do here and now on earth is what matters most, then New Year’s Eve is important to celebrate because it marks the passing of time. It gives us all time to reflect on what we did, how we lived our lives, and how we intend to help make the world a better place in the next year. Yep, that sentiment just sings to me!new years menu 2015I cook for 16 of my friends on New Year’s Eve, and my themes have ranged from recipes from my cookbooks, to a celebration of the pig, to my friends’ favorite dishes and more. This year, I decided to do that Italian American traditional Christmas Eve menu of The Feast of Seven Fishes, including the menu in Italian. I’ll run through the entire menu and courses today for you, and will be giving you all of the recipes over the coming weeks, starting with the antipasto recipe today…new years eve 2015 fried oyster celery salad-1

Oven Fried Oysters with Celery Salad and Celery Aioli
(You can skip to the bottom of the post for the recipe right now if you can’t wait!)new years even 2015 calamari salad 1-1Calamari Saladnew years eve 2015 mussels with farro cannelini and ceci-1Farro, Chickpeas, and Cannelini Beans with Mussels in Brothnew years eve 2015 lobster fra diavolo-1Lobster Fra Diavolo with Linguinenew years eve 2015 swordfish and shrimp with broccoli rabe-1Herb Crusted Swordfish, Broccoli Rabe with Lemon, and Shrimp Sicilian Style
new years eve 2015 plates-1You might be interested in how exactly you pull of a feast like this for 16 people, especially considering that the seafood can’t be prepped days in advance. Two days before New Year’s Eve I shop and set the table.new years eve 2015 place setting-1My place cards are always things I’ve preserved from the year, and in this case the men got Plum Brandy and the women got Jalapeño Plum Chutney.new years eve 2015  t-shirt gifts-1I also purchased t-shirts for the women, in an Italian food theme, because a colleague of mine just launched Kitchen Table Couture, and is sharing a portion of the profits with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program.new years eve 2015 seafood seven fishes-1I picked up all of the seafood (order it ahead of time to make sure your fish monger has what you need) mid-day the day before New Year’s Eve.new years even 2015 lobster cooking-1I did the bulk of my cooking the day before, prepping all of the sauces, rubs, beans, etc., including dispatching and cooking the lobster for the fra diavolo…new years eve 2015 mussels-1new years eve 2015 mussels cooked-1…and cooking and shucking the mussels (be sure to reserve all that flavorful liquid they release!) while the farro and beans simmered.new years even 2015 calamari salad-1It helps if you can find some recipes for dishes like this calamari salad that say they actually taste better when made the day before.new years eve 2015 broccoli rabe with lemon-1I even blanched my broccoli rabe and laid it on a baking sheet with lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil so that it was ready to roast the next day.new years eve 2015 bubbly-1On New Year’s Eve I only had to chill the bubbly and provide some last minute cooking and finishing instructions for my helpers (I like to be at the table with my guests on New Year’s Eve). I actually had time to go to pilates, spend time with my aging Mom, have a manicure, and get caught up on one of my favorite shows during the day. Don’t shy away from a big dinner party – with a little planning and prep, it’s actually pretty easy to pull off and a fun way to celebrate with friends. I’ll be sharing recipes from this dinner throughout the month, so check back often!
Oven Fried Oysters with Celery Salad and Aioli
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 8 (entree) or 16 (appetizer)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash Tabasco™ sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • ⅔ cup grated Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 16 large shucked oysters
  • Olive oil cooking spray (or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil)
  1. FOR THE AIOLI: Put the egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, salt, Tabasco™, and celery seed in a blender. Turn the blender on and very slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Spoon into a small covered container or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. May be made several days in advance.
  2. FOR THE CELERY SALAD: Combine the celery, olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and salt in a small bowl, mix together, and season with pepper to taste. May be made the day before.
  3. FOR THE OYSTERS: In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In a third bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and parsley.
  4. Pat oysters dry with paper towels, then coat the oysters with flour mixture. Next, dip in eggs, and finally, coat with crumb mixture. Place coated oysters on a greased baking sheet and either spray with olive oil cooking spray or drizzle with oil. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. TO SERVE: Plate celery salad and top with 1-2 oysters and drizzle with aioli sauce.


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