The Cooking Apprentice Hangtown Fry

Spring 2012, 10 am.  Hungry for a good, hardy meal.  My family and I recently moved to Placerville at the time and were anxious to experience the local eateries in town.  Whilst perusing through the menu at the Buttercup Pantry on Main Street, I couldn’t help but notice the ‘Hangout Fry’. So when the waitress came back around to take our order, I asked her what this omelet menagerie was all about.  Sure enough and without hesitation, our waitress was overjoyed to share her short-version story of the ‘Hangtown Fry‘…

And as the story goes, **a prospector rushed into the saloon of the El Dorado Hotel announcing that right there in town , along the banks of Hangtown Creek, he had struck it rich and had every reason to celebrate. Untying his leather poke from his belt, he tossed it on the bar where it landed heavily, spilling its shining contents of gold dust and nuggets. Turning to the bartender he loudly demanded, I want you to cook me up the finest and most expensive meal in the house. I’m a rich man and I’m going to celebrate my good luck…Scramble me up a whole mess of eggs and oysters, throw in some bacon and serve’em up, said the prospector. I’m starving. I’ve lived on nothing much more than canned beans since I got to California, and at last I can afford a real meal.

The cook did just that, cooking up a whole mess of eggs, bacon and oysters for the hungry prospector. Out of that prospector’s wish, and with a little artistry from the long forgotten cook, the original Hangtown Fry was created.

Below is my homemade rendition of the now world- famous mixture of eggs, oysters, and bacon that originated in Placerville.


Based on one person/per omelet; most ingredients I use are cage-free; organic, but are optional

  • 2 eggs, scrambled and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 large fresh oyster (I purchased fresh ones from the market, but you can also get them in a jar which contains approximately 5 to 6 varying sizes ranging from small to large.  They are just as fresh.)
  • 1 tablespoon pork belly, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onions (yellow onions are okay, too)
  • 1 small yellow, red or orange sweet bell pepper, seeds removed, finely sliced
  • 2 medium size brown mushrooms, sliced (any type of mushrooms may be used)
  • 1 tablespoon sliced black olives (optional)
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 strand fresh chives, sliced and 1 extra for garnish
  • Truffle salt (any type of salt may be used, as well)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon caviar for garnish (optional)
  • 1 fresh strawberry (or any fresh fruit for garnish, optional)

Directions©The Cooking Apprentice Hangout Fry

  1. Place the olive oil in a large, heated non-stick skillet.
  2. Sauté the pork belly slices until thoroughly cooked and golden brown in color (Set aside as an optional topping, as pictured)
  3. Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and sweet bell peppers and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Add the fresh oyster(s) in the middle of the skillet — i.e., 1 large, 2 mediums/ or small and cook for about 30 seconds on each side.
  5. Pour in the scramble egg to cover entire ingredient (as pictured)
  6. Cook for about 5 minutes
  7. Carefully fold in thirds and top with the mozzarella cheese, more seasoning to taste.  Cover to melt the cheese.
  8. Remove from skillet, top with caviar (optional) and serve warm.

A nice fresh fruit on the side is a delicious way to refresh the palette after this hardy meal!  Enjoy! —gcc

**Partial story is an excerpt from The City of Placerville


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