Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Hangtown Fry - A Gold Rush Classic, and the Perfect Before Execution Snack!

During the California gold rush, legend has it, a miner who had just struck it rich, walked into a restaurant in Placerville (known then as "Hangtown") and demanded the most expensive breakfast possible. The cook fried together the three priciest ingredients at the time; bacon, eggs and fresh oysters. This delicious and decadent breakfast became known as the Hangtown fry, which is the subject of this video recipe.

Another interesting historical angle to this dish was its popularity as a "last meal" request among those unfortunate souls awaiting a walk to the gallows. Since it often took a few days to procure all three of those ingredients, the condemned man could stall his inevitable fate. Maybe is gang could think of a way to bust him out, and he could brag from that point on how his life was saved by a scrambled egg recipe.

By the way, the original recipe had the raw oysters cooked right into the eggs, but this modernized versions places fried oysters on top of the eggs for a more "fancified" plate. Enjoy!
Click here for ingredients and transcript

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

if i ever find myself on death row I shall remember this!

peter said...

that big knife isn't over your shoulder like it usually is at the start of your other videos.

Chef John said...

good eyes!

Donald said...

Holy Cow! Those oysers seem HUGE. They're as big as chicken breasts.

Chef John said...

the camera adds 10 pounds! actually the plate is pretty small.

Birder said...

Can you successfully use those smoked oysters in the flat tins for this?

PrimeBrit said...

Chef

I was lucky enough to experience freshly shucked raw oysters on my neighbors dock the other evening! The worst thing about them is how they look, but with a little squeeze of lemon, cocktail sauce and a teeny bit of horseradish, I must say I probably didn't taste the oysters! An experience all the same and one that a boy born in a town that is famous for Black Pudding hopes to repeat sometime soon. TGIF!

Donald said...

Hey Chef John

Go to today's NYTimes (April 16, 2008) and see Mark Bittman's take on the Hangtown fry.

I find it really coincidental that this recipe is featured on two different web sites in such a short period of time (your's being first)

Its as if all you foodie types are somehow connected in a vast lattice of coincidence. I may be thinking of a plate of shrimp and then one of you guys may say, plate or shrimp or Plate of shrimp...out of the blue.... It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.

Either that or he's a fan of your blog...

Anonymous said...

I was coming to your blog to say exactly what Donald reported about the NYT & Mark Bittman's take on the Hangtown fry.

I mean, I like watching cooking instuction videos where ever I can see 'em, but how common is Hangtown Fry anyways?!?

Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer your recipe over Mark Bittman's take on the Hangtown fry...I re-watched your video, and darn if the view of the fried bits of bacon didn't totally mesemerize me as they glided by!

Chef John said...

That bastard stole my idea! And then tried to throw me off the scent by doing an "authentic" version. He's now on my "list!" ;)

Thomas Damgaard said...

Hi Chef John,

Can you do a demo on Egg Benedict?

Chef John said...

Already did! http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2007/03/eggs-benedicts-last-2-episodes-to-make.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
i have been following your videos for a few month now and i really enjoy them. thank you so much.
now on bittman, ( i have actually been following his blog longer than yours ) i like his minimalistic way but i found he is so minimalist that the flavor also gets minimal. and i do not like that. i do not like non-chef who cannot provide us with decent technic.
i like your way of teaching / cooking because it is simple enough to follow and so delicious. i cooked tomato sauce the other day and it came out really great. i did not know that i had to simmer it for a long time. i learned it takes time to make a delicious dish.
thanks again:)
ps. my foodwish is a cheesecake!