Friday, February 4, 2011

Fried Fridays - Hangtown Fry

What is in a name? If we're talking about the Hangtown Fry, plenty. Invented in nearby Placerville, California, the Hangtown Fry is basically an omelette that was made famous during the California Gold Rush. According to folklore, the dish was created when a gold prospector struck it rich, headed to the Cary House Hotel, and demanded that the kitchen make the most expensive dish it could provide. They didn't disappoint, blending together eggs, bacon, potatoes, and oysters.

By today's standards, the value of these simple ingredients are lost to us, meaning that such a dish would not be considered expensive. But, in the mid-1800s, eggs were not readily available in a mining town, bacon was shipped from the East Coast, and the oysters were brought in on ice from San Francisco, which was over 100 miles away and more than a week's journey.

With that said, there is much to appreciate in this homegrown delicacy. Not only does it pack bold flavor combinations and textures with each bite, but according to the El Dorado County Museum, nothing epitomizes California and its Gold Rush era more than the Hangtown Fry.

It's certainly become one of our favorites with the most common version found at Cafeteria 15L, where their Hangtown Fry consists of oysters, a poached egg, bacon, potatoes, and a rich Tabasco Hollandaise sauce.

So, if you are looking for something truly unique and time-tested, go no further than the Hangtown Fry. Enjoy!

In this photo: The Hangtown Fry from Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento, CA

1 comment:

  1. While the Cary House Hangtown Fry was more elaborate, the heroine of my historical novel of the gold rush, Sweet Betsy from Pike, stirred up a similar concoction on a similar occasion. -- Sam Sackett