Oyster po' boy

Serves 2

A sandwich on Valentine's Day? Well, why not – it's not all about romantic dinners; you may just want to stay in, watch a movie and eat something simple. A po' boy with oysters is a traditional New Orleans dish which originated during the Depression when oysters cost as little as 5 cents a dozen and used to be fried and put into sandwiches.

These days in New Orleans, you get po' boys with all sorts of strange fillings, but I like the original version. I've eaten oyster po' boys in many ways – breadcrumbed with different flavourings and even bacon. You can spice up the mayonnaise if you like by adding chopped gherkins and capers – as in a tartare sauce – or even add some chilli sauce to give it a real kick. In New Orleans, a po' boy tends to be about a foot long and made with French bread or softer rolls, rather like the hot-dog variety. If you want to make a long one, you could always share it with your partner.

12 oysters, shucked
A couple of tablespoons of cornflour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of knobs of butter for frying
A piece of French bread (length up to you)
A few leaves of crisp lettuce, shredded
Mayonnaise to serve (or see above)

Cut the bread in half lengthways and scoop out a little of the soft white bread. Brush the two pieces with butter and lightly toast the white side. Season the oysters and pass them through the cornflour. Melt the butter in a frying pan until foaming and fry the oysters for about a minute or so each side until nicely coloured. Spread a layer of mayonnaise on the bottom half of the bread, then add some lettuce. Lay the oysters on the lettuce, then add more mayonnaise if you wish, before placing the top on.

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