Hangtown Fry

You might find that hangtown fry was invented during the California Gold Rush by a miner who’d just struck it rich and barged into a saloon demanding the most extravagant dish in the house. The truth is, hangtown fry was invented then and there for the same reason by condemned criminals. My version of this dish is unbreaded oysters, onions, and sweet peppers in a frittata. Serve with sourdough toast.

 

Oven-Fried Oysters

Oven-fried anything will always be far inferior to something flat-out fried, but these are awfully good on the fly when you don’t want to deal with a lot of hot oil. Mix a cup of corn meal with a half cup of flour along with about a tablespoon of salt, black, and red pepper. Dip drained oysters in a wash made with one large egg whipped with a cup of water—you want it a little frothy. Dredge in meal/flour mixture, and bake in a very hot oven (400, at least) in a very well-oiled pan on an upper rack Flip five minutes after they begin sizzling. These are actually pretty good cold.

Oysters Johnny Reb

Cover the bottom of a 10-in. gratin with finely-crumbed saltines mixed with pepper, paprika, chopped shallots, and parsley. Add a layer of oysters that have been rolled in the crumb mixture, then top with another layer of crumbs and grated parmesan. Drizzle with only enough melted butter to moisten, then slowly pour heavy cream into the edge of the dish until oysters are just covered. Place in a very hot oven until bubbling and browned.