Hangtown Fry

When gold was discovered in North-western California in 1850, the rush was on. Thousands of migrants crowded into he remote region in search of riches and a new life and the effects of this mass migration were considerable. San Francisco grew from a tiny hamlet of tents to a boomtown, and roads, churches, schools and other towns soon followed. 

The supply of raw materials could barely meet the demand and before long the vast trees of Washington’s forests were felled and shipped south. Laden with lumber, the sailing ships returning to San Francisco often supplemented their ballast with Olympic oysters and once wealthy prospectors got a taste for these delightful little molluscs they became almost as valuable as the gold itself. So great was their popularity that according to the folk lore, when asked what he wanted for his last meal, one condemned man waiting for the noose in Hangtown, a salubrious district of San Francisco, demanded the three most expensive ingredients in town. 

“I want Olympia oysters, bacon and eggs. “ 

he ordered before being sent to the gallows. A somewhat uncreative jail cook heated all three ingredients in his only skillet and the Hangtown Fry was born. Word spread amongst prospectors of this of this lavish dish, and before long it had became the meal of choice for those who had struck gold in the fields and mines of California.

Here is a recipe for luxurious one-man Hangtown Fry.

1. Shuck your oysters and pat them dry with paper towels. 

2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and cream and set aside. 

3. In a small skillet or heavy frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Take out the bacon and set aside on a arm plate. 

4. In the same hot skillet saute the oysters in the remaining bacon fat for 1 minute. Watch out for spitting! 

5. Now pour your egg/cream mixture over the oysters, and add salt and pepper to taste; cook the mixture over moderate heat for 2 minutes or until the eggs are set. Garnish with parsley.

6. Remove from heat and flip the mixture onto a warm plate and serve with the rashers of streaky bacon and wash down with plenty of strong coffee.

Gold rush

This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008 at 18:05 and is filed under American Recipes, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 comment

  1. My take on this dish is that you must have 1. fry a little garlic with the oysters. 2. that the oysters are rolled in cracker crumbs and then fried before the eggs are addes and 3. and most importantly, that you have a Pisco Punch as an appetizer. Two of those and a Hangtown Fry and that’s a gentleman’s evening out.

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