Parsley doesn't quit in the winter in our region, so use it to spice up anything fried, but especially the season's great oysters. Here's one of my favorite oyster recipes.
2 dozen medium oysters, freshly shucked
2 cups finely ground corn flour
1 beaten egg in 1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 cup finely minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
peanut oil for frying
Drain the juice off the oysters and pat each dry with paper towels. Put the flour in one shallow bowl, then mix eggs and milk with seasonings in another. Use a third bowl to mix parsley and cheese and set aside. Heat an inch of oil in a skillet to frying temperature (about 150F) as you prepare the oysters. Roll each one in the flour bowl, then in the egg mix, then in the flour again. Shake off the excess and place gently in the hot oil. Turn the oysters once, remove when golden brown and drain on a paper grocery bag or paper towels. As soon as they are cool enough to pick up, roll each oyster in the parsley and cheese. Serve on a warm plate with a green salad and French bread.
Serves 4 to 6.
Favorite or New Plant
The Sweetest Olive
The sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans) outside my office window is a real winter bright spot. Known as a classic southern garden shrub or small tree, sweet olive deserves more attention in modern landscapes.
It's slow growing, so no pruning is necessary. It has no bug problems to speak of, so you can plant it without fear of starting a whitefly nursery. Winter brings sweet olive flowers with a fragrance that will grab you with every breeze. And it's evergreen to boot.
Because it grows best in part shade, sweet olive can grow right next to the house; it also can be a neat neighbor to camellias and sasanquas. You must amend the bed for sweet olive to be sure it drains very well - use organic matter and sharp sand to loosen up native clays, but only organic matter in sandy soils.