Fried Oyster Gougère Sliders

Andre Guerrero shares his recipe

It seems not so coincidental that Memorial Day also happens to be National Burger Day. The holiday is, after all, the official kick-off to grilling season. This year go the gastropub route (God knows everyone else in town has) and forgo massive burgers for petit gourmet sliders, and swap out mini-buns for Little Bear’s puffy gougères. Downtown’s Belgian beer hub fills the sliced-open cheesy dough balls with fried oysters  and crispy bacon, which, while not technically a hamburger, feels  like a dish worthy of our fallen soldiers, don’t you think?
Gougère ingredients:
2 cups of water
3 1/2  ounces of butter
½ tablespoon of salt
5 ounces of flour
1 cup of eggs
5 ounces of grated Gruyère cheese
½ tablespoon of fresh minced thyme
1 teaspoon of sugar

Fried oyster ingredients:
2 Shucked jars of oysters or 1 dozen fresh oysters:
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of salt
20 ounces of canola or frying oil

Other ingredients:
1 small jar of Tarter sauce
4 ounces of arugula
Smoked bacon (cooked crispy)

For the Gougères:
-In a small pot, boil water, salt, butter, and sugar until butter is melted.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in flour and mix with a whisk vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Return to the stove and cook over medium heat until dough pulls away from sides of the pot (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).  
-Place the hot dough mix in a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment. Run the mixer on medium speed for two minutes to cool slightly.  Next, add in the cup of whole eggs one at a time.  Allow each egg to become incorporated before adding another one. When all eggs are incorporated, add in the grated Gruyère cheese and thyme and mix well for another minute.
Preheat your over at 400 F for 15 minutes.
-Add your gougère dough mix to a pastry bag or large zip-lock bag and cut one of the corners to allow the dough mix to flow out slowly.  On a baking pan or sheet lined with wax paper or baking spray, start dropping small mounds of dough that are slight bigger than a quarter.  Once you are done making the mounds of dough, place the baking pan in the preheated oven and cook for 15 to 18 minutes until the dough has puffed and turned golden brown.
-Next, lower the oven temperature to 325 F and continue to cook the gougères for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the puff dough mix to fully cook from the inside. Once you have taken them out the oven, allow the gougères to cool down for 5 minutes before serving.

For the Oysters:

-Put two cups of flour in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of salt and mix well. Drop in one shucked oyster at a time and cover well with flour. Remove each oyster from the flour and sake off any excess flour.  Next drop 5 to 6 oysters at a time in frying pan with canola or frying oil set at medium heat and allow the oyster to cook until golden brown and crispy. Remove the oysters from the hot oil carefully and place on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.


-Cut your gougères in half and put inside the crispy oysters and top them with baby arugula, tarter sauce and crispy smoked bacon.