Angels on horseback
|Angels on horseback|
|Hors d'oeuvre or savoury|
|Place of origin:|
|Devils on horseback|
|Recipes at Wikibooks:|
|Angels on horseback|
|Media at Wikimedia Commons:|
|Angels on horseback|
Angels on horseback is a hot appetizer made of oysters wrapped with bacon. In the United Kingdom they can also be a savoury, the final course of a traditional British formal meal. They are somewhat similar to the dish devils on horseback and the Midwestern version of pigs in a blanket, a traditional dish of the American Midwest.
Strictly speaking angels on horseback (and the original UK form of pigs in a blanket) are an hors d'œuvre, unlike the US variant of pigs in a blanket, which are canapés, since the latter always involve a bread base or wrapping, and angels on horseback are not by necessity served on toast.
Though the dish is English in origin, the name most likely derives from the French anges à cheval; its first occurrence, confirmed by the Oxford English Dictionary and other sources, is in 1888, in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. However, there is a reference in an Australian newspaper to the dish, which includes a brief recipe, from 1882. There appears to be no significance in the connections between oyster/angel and bacon/horse. While sometimes referred to as a traditional English dish, the dish has its Irish fans also: most recently, they featured as part of the menu that won Danny Millar the Irish regional crown in the Great British Menu challenge.
Angels on horseback are also served in the United States, where the dish never seems to have become as well known as in its country of origin. It seems to have been introduced in the mid- to late 1890s. One of the earliest references in an American newspaper is an 1896 article from the New York Times, where the dish is suggested as an appetizer; according to the Times, the dish is to be credited to Urbain Dubois, the chef of the German emperor. In this version, they are skewered, sprinkled with a bit of cayenne pepper, and broiled, and then served with lemon and parsley (without toast). The earliest occurrence cited in the Dictionary of American Regional English is from 1909. In the 1930s, they are suggested, for instance, as part of the picnic menu, and in 1948 again as an appetizer. In the 1950s, a number of articles appear in American papers, the titles of which suggest that the dish is little known: "For Oyster Treat, Try Angels on Horseback: They're Delectable Appetizer Sunday Menu"; "Angels on Horseback, English Monkey? Those Are Recipes!"; and "These Angels on Horseback Are Oysters".
Angels on horseback did achieve a certain popularity in the 1960s in Washington, D.C.; Evangeline Bruce, wife of US ambassador and diplomatic envoy David K. E. Bruce and renowned for her "Washington soirees", served them regularly during the Kennedy administration but even there, the name itself was not commonplace, as suggested by the words of gossip columnist Liz Smith: "Sometimes the oysters were raw, sometimes they were grilled and wrapped in bacon. Then Mrs. Bruce called them Angels on Horseback." As late as the 1980s, the Chicago Tribune calls the dish "intriguing", suggesting the dish had not yet become commonplace in the United States.
According to the classic recipe, shucked oysters are wrapped in bacon. Sometimes scallops are used in place of oysters. This is then baked in the oven, about three minutes per side, or prepared with any other source of dry heat, such as broiling. An early recipe, from 1902, suggests frying the skewered oysters and bacon in butter. The dish is often served on toast, though if prepared on skewers and broiled, it can be eaten straight from the skewer.
Joanna Pruess's book Seduced by Bacon includes a recipe for Angels and Devils on horseback. She wrote that "a little hot red pepper sauce can transform them from heavenly to hellishly hot tasting, or somewhere inbetween."
Other uses of the name
"Angels on Horseback" is also the name of a 1977 episode of the 1970s American TV show Charlie's Angels. Nurses working for the Frontier Nursing Service who served remote areas of Kentucky also bore the name. It is also the title of a 1957 collection by English cartoonist Norman Thelwell.
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- "Angels on horseback". Dictionary of American Regional English. Introduction and A-C. Harvard UP. 1985. p. 63.
- "'Angels on Horseback' Newest Thing Designed for the Picnic Menu". The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida). 1939-07-31.
- Meade, Mary (1948-12-01). "By Any Name—Oysters Delight as Appetizers". Chicago Tribune. p. A3. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Meade, Mary (1953-01-24). "For Oyster Treat, Try Angels on Horseback: They're Delectable Appetizer Sunday Menu". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Manners, Marian (1954-10-17). "Angels on Horseback, English Monkey? Those Are Recipes!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- "These Angels on Horseback Are Oysters". Chicago Tribune. 1959-04-03. p. B9. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Barron, James (1995-12-14). "Evangeline Bruce, 77, Hostess Known for Washington Soirees". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-29.
- Smith, Liz (2005). Dishing: great dish—and dishes—from America's most beloved gossip columnist. Simon and Schuster. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-7432-5156-3.
- Claiborne, Craig; Franey, Pierre (1983-11-17). "Intriguing British savories: Angels on horseback ride to the aid of the palate". Chicago Tribune. p. NW1. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Harlow, Jay (2002). West Coast Seafood: The Complete Cookbook. Sasquatch. pp. 278–79. ISBN 978-1-57061-170-4.
- Harland, Marion; Herrick, Christine Terhune (1902). 365 Luncheon Dishes: A Luncheon Dish for Every Day in the Year. G.W. Jacobs. pp. 59–60.
- Pruess, Joanna; Lape, Bob (2006). Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore about America's Favorite Indulgence (illus. ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-59228-851-9.
- Grace, Roger M. (2004-06-03). "'Angels on Horseback' Said to Be 'Heaven-Sent' Oyster Dish". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Angels on Horseback Recipe from The Foody
- Recipe by Marcus Wareing from the BBC's Great British Menu