Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Ever since my parents moved to within shouting distance of the Sierra foothills, I have been obsessed with a dish called "Hangtown Fry." The origins of the dish are somewhat mysterious, but the likeliest explanation is that some 49er who struck it rich barged into a saloon in Hangtown (now Placerville) and asked for the most expensive meal possible; in those days, oysters were carted in from the coast in barrels of seawater and eggs seem to have been fairly precious. The saloonkeeper came up with the Hangtown Fry: basically an omelet made with eggs, bacon and fried oysters. The cost back then was six dollars, an astronomical sum.
Anyway, on various visits west, I have attempted to have the Hangtown Fry. I even made Mom drive me to Placerville to have it, but the destination cafe was closed and we ended up having sad hamburgers in some lame lunch spot.
All these years later, I finally got around to trying it myself and here are the results. Since it's June and I'm inland, I used canned oysters.
First, fry three strips of bacon until just short of crispy. Set aside. Dip oysters in an egg/milk combo and then dredge in bread crumbs. Fry until just golden. Remove. Add bacon back to pan in parallel stripes. Put the equivalent of one egg on the bacon. Let set just a bit. Add fried oysters, then add two more eggs. Let set, then fold in half, like an omelet. Then cover and let steam for a minute or two. Then take a bite and cry. This is one great dish, people. JUST EAT IT.
And yes, that is a scorch mark on the edge of my counter, an unfortunate remnant from a mis-wokking.