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Oyster loaf

Oyster loaf

1 uncut loaf of good-quality white bread, such as a Pullman loaf or brioche

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 bottle (32 ounces) peanut oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cracker meal or finely ground saltine crackers

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 pound shucked oysters

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. To create a hollowed-out bread box for the oyster loaf, cut a rectangle out of the center of the loaf, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Slice and remove the top crust off the rectangle; set top crust aside. (Reserve the remaining bread for another use.) Butter the insides and bottom of the bread box; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cracker meal, salt and pepper to taste on a plate; dredge an oyster in the flour mixture, coating completely. Add to the oil; repeat quickly with remaining oysters, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook until oysters brown and float to the top, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-covered plate to drain.

Place the fried oysters in the bread box; cover with top crust. Wrap in foil. Bake until butter melts, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Set aside 5 minutes; slice gently.

Nutritional information per serving: 292 calories, 48 percent of calories from fat, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 89 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 526 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

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