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Video:Make a Hangtown Fry

with John Mitzewich

The hangtown fry is a delicious and decadent breakfast that was created during the California gold rush when a rich miner wanted a meal made from the most expensive ingredients in town: oysters, eggs, and bacon. See how to make hangtown fry at home.See Transcript

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Transcript:Make a Hangtown Fry

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com. Today I'm going to show you how to make something called a Hangtown Fry - America's most decadent breakfast.

What is a Hangtown Fry?

This dish dates back to the Gold Rush, when a gold miner stuck it rich, near Placerville, California, which was known as "Hangtown," and wanted a breakfast made from the most expensive ingredients. Here's what they came up with.

Prepare the Oysters

We're going to take some supermarket oysters. Those are just fresh jarred oysters, that's a 10-oz jar. And we're going to take 1 egg and whisk it up with some cayenne and black pepper to taste. We're going to drain the oysters. You're going to get about 4-6 oysters per jar. We're going to dust them in some flour, and then dip them in the egg. We're not going to put any salt because the oysters are briny and we can add some salt to the top later.

We're going to toss these in some plain breadcrumbs. Once those are breaded set them aside while prep the rest of the dish. I like to put some breadcrumbs on the plate so they don't get wet underneath.

Cook the Bacon

We're going to take 4 slices of bacon (diced) and crisp it up and reserve that on paper towel to drain. Be sure to keep 2 tsp of bacon fat for later. Then, we're going to take about an inch of vegetable oil and get it hot. You can tell it's ready by dropping in a piece of coating and if it bubbles you are ready to go.

Fry the Oysters

We're going to fry these oysters. They've sat for about 10 minutes while we did the bacon, which will help the breading stay on. We're going to fry those for about 3-4 minutes per side until golden-brown, then take them out and reserve on a paper towel until needed.

Whisk the Eggs

And, then the third ingredient is the eggs, which were expensive back then. So take 6 eggs and whisk with some black pepper to taste. No salt - salt makes tough eggs, so you add it at the end if you want it.

Scramble the Eggs

In a pan, add 2 tsp of butter to the 2 tsp of bacon fat. And on low heat, we're going to slowly scramble the eggs. We want a really nice custard-y, soft scrambled eggs. That really makes this dish. When it gets about halfway, and starts to thicken, add 1/2 the bacon. This is going to take about 5 minutes all together. So on low heat, with a rubber spatula, and non-stick pan you can get a beautiful "small-curd" scrambled egg.

Assemble the Hangtown Fry

Now this looks like its too loose there, but by the time you bring it to the plate and spoon it on, it's still cooking and will be perfectly scrambled. Top it with a couple fried oysters, the rest of the bacon, some fresh chives, and, of course, some grilled or toasted sourdough.

That is a wonderful breakfast. The original version wasn't fried, the oysters were just scrambled in, but this is a much nicer version I think. So, anyway, while there may not be "gold in them there hills," there is certainly oysters, eggs, and bacon in that there grocery store. So give this delicious California gold rush breakfast a try. Enjoy.

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