Hangtown Fry

This rolled version of the Hangtown Fry, a bacon- and oyster-studded omelet popularized during the California Gold Rush, is embellished with caviar and beurre blanc.

Hangtown Fry

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Total Time:
30 mins
1 serving

Popularized in Placerville, California, during the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, the Hangtown fry boasts the richest and most luxurious ingredients of that time: eggs, bacon, and oysters. The Hangtown fry is most classically served as a flat, round omelet, but chef Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium in Los Angeles was inspired during his time at The French Laundry to create a rolled version, adorning the already indulgent dish with caviar and beurre blanc in addition to the more typical fried oysters and bacon. The dish is an ode to Hollingsworth’s hometown.


  • 3 center-cut bacon slices (about 2 1/4 ounces), thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1/4 cup tap water

  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) dry vermouth

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (from 1 [1-ounce] shallot)

  • 4 raw small oysters, shucked, plus 2 tablespoons reserved oyster liquid, divided

  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil, plus more for frying

  • 1/4 cup rice flour

  • 1/4 cup chilled sparkling water

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives

  • 1/8 teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon osetra or Kaluga caviar (from 1 [1-ounce] jar) (see Note)

  • Edible flowers (optional)


  1. Cook bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Discard bacon fat, and wipe skillet clean.

  2. Stir together 1/4 cup tap water, vermouth, shallot, and reserved 2 tablespoons oyster liquid in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to about 1 tablespoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 4 tablespoons butter into 1-tablespoon pieces.

  3. Remove vermouth mixture from heat, and add butter pieces, 1 at a time, whisking or swirling pan well after each addition to emulsify, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

  4. Fill a small saucepan with oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches; heat over medium to 350°F. Whisk together rice flour and sparkling water in a small bowl until batter consistency is smooth and thick. Using tongs, dip oysters in batter, letting excess batter drip off; transfer oysters to hot oil. Fry until crisp and light golden, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer oysters to a paper towel–lined plate. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

  5. Whisk together eggs and salt in a medium bowl until very smooth and slightly frothy, about 30 seconds. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium. Add eggs; cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula and scraping around skillet edge, until curds form, about 45 seconds. Shake skillet to redistribute eggs over surface. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, undisturbed, until eggs set and form a thin sheet across skillet bottom, about 1 minute. Sprinkle Parmesan, chives, pepper, and reserved bacon in a line down middle of eggs. Gently fold 1 side of omelet in toward center and over filling. Add remaining 1 teaspoon butter to empty side of skillet near folded edge of omelet. Tilt skillet to coat with melted butter. Using spatula, gently roll up omelet completely, encasing filling. Remove from heat.

  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons vermouth sauce on a rimmed plate. Roll omelet from skillet, and place, seam side down, on sauce. Top with caviar, fried oysters, and edible flowers, if using, and serve immediately with remaining sauce.


Caviar is available at most seafood markets or online at olmafood.com.

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