In honor of the upcoming James Beard Foundation Awards and New Orleans' many nominees, Kit Wohl's Cookbook Studio presents this recipe for Oysters St. Claude. The recipe is courtesy of Kit's P&J Oyster Cookbook (Pelican Publishing). Kit appears regularly in the kitchen on the Sunday edition of Eyewitness Morning News, Sundays at 6 a.m.

Another honor for New Orleans, Upperline owner and tastemaker JoAnn Clevenger is a nominee for Outstanding Restaurateur in the James Beard Foundation Awards. The award honors a working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship.

New Orleans has an even dozen hospitality industry nominees. The ceremonies will be held on Monday, May 1 in Chicago. The James Beard Foundation will live stream the ceremonies that evening at

Upperline’s former Chef Ken Smith created Oysters St. Claude as a tribute to the great, lost Mandich Restaurant that had been located on St. Claude Avenue. Upperline owner JoAnn Clevenger and Smith had a last lunch there shortly before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Oysters St. Claude, Upperline Restaurant


4 seeded thinly sliced Meyer lemons (or other thin-skinned lemons. Use peel, pulp and pith.)
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1 bunch parsley, without stems, chopped
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
12 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Salt to taste


24 shucked fresh oysters
2 cups corn flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
French bread

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

Purée all ingredients except the butter and salt in a food processor, using the metal blade, until smooth.

Add the purée to the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the garlic has softened enough to blend smoothly with the other ingredients. Be careful not to burn. The sauce will be dark red and thick. Add salt to taste. Mix the sauce well if it begins to separate. Keep the sauce at room temperature if using it within 3 or 4 hours. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate it. Strain the oyster juices (the “liquor”) into a container to remove grit and refrigerate or freeze for future use.

Mix the corn flour, all-purpose flour, salt and pepper in a bowl or medium-size baking pan. Dredge the oysters in the flour mixture until well coated. Shake off excess flour. Heat the oil to 350°F. A thermometer is recommended. Do not fill the fryer more than half full of oil. Using long tongs, place the oysters one at a time in the oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove with long tongs and drain on paper towels.

Top each oyster with about 1 tablespoon of St. Claude sauce. Serve 3 to 5 oysters per person.

This recipe is courtesy of Kit Wohl's P&J Oyster Cookbook (Pelican Publishing). Kit appears regularly in the kitchen on the Sunday edition of Eyewitness Morning News, Sundays at 6 a.m.