Joe Hoggard’s Ship’s Cabin restaurant rose from humble beginnings as a small food shack on the waterfront in Norfolk’s Ocean View to one of Coastal Virginia’s premier restaurants. It helped introduce the region to fine dining in the 1970s and ’80s with fresh, creative, and innovative dishes that capitalized on the abundance of fresh seafood caught just outside its door.
One such dish is Oysters Bingo, named after restaurant patron and Virginia politico Frederick T. “Bingo” Stant Jr. This version is inspired by the original dish at the venerable eatery, which became the first AAA 4-Diamond restaurant in southeastern Virginia.
Here’s how to make it:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2–3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons reserved oyster liquor (can substitute bottled clam juice or seafood broth)
2 tablespoons white wine, such as Riesling
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium shallots, minced
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
Lemon zest for garnish
Make the oysters. Shuck the oysters, and reserve the liquor (liquid). Combine the flour, salt, black pepper and pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Toss the oysters in the flour mixture, and shake to remove any excess flour.
Heat the oil and butter in a skillet on high heat. When the skillet is very hot, add the oysters, being careful not to crowd them (cook in batches if necessary). Sauté until the coating is golden brown, about 30 seconds, then turn and sauté for 30 seconds longer.
Transfer the oysters to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil/butter mixture in the skillet.
Make the sauce. Add the oyster liquor, white wine, lemon juice and shallots to the oil/butter mixture, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the skillet to incorporate the flavorful bits.
Remove the skillet from the heat, stir the sauce blend thoroughly, and pour over the oysters. Top immediately with shaved curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon zest and serve immediately.
Yields 2 servings