Rocky Mountain oysters

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Rocky Mountain oysters
Rocky mountain oysters.jpg
Alternative names Prairie oysters, calf fries
Course Hors d'oeuvre
Place of origin Canada and United States
Main ingredients Testicles (bull calf, sometimes pig or sheep), flour, pepper and, salt
Cookbook: Rocky Mountain oysters  Media: Rocky Mountain oysters
Raw bovine testicles in an Italian market

Rocky Mountain oysters, also known as prairie oysters in Canada, is a dish made of bull, pig or sheep testicles. The organs are often deep-fried after being peeled, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and sometimes pounded flat. This delicacy is most often served as an appetizer[1] with a cocktail sauce dip.

North America[edit]

The novelty dish is served in parts of the American West and Western Canada where cattle ranching is prevalent and castration of young animals is common. "Prairie oysters" is the preferred name in Canada where they are served in a demi-glace.[2] In Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, they are sometimes called calf fries but only if taken from very young animals.[3] In Spain, Argentina and many parts of Mexico they are referred to as "criadillas," and they are colloquially referred to as huevos de toro (literally, "bull’s eggs"; besides its literal meaning, huevos is a Spanish slang term for testicles) in Central and South America.[4] Rocky Mountain oysters are sometimes confused with lamb fries or animelles (lamb testicles), which are served in a similar manner. A few other terms, such as "cowboy caviar", "Montana tendergroins", "dusted nuts", "bull fries" or "swinging beef" may be used.[5]

The dish, purportedly cowboy fare,[6] is most commonly found served at festivals, amongst ranching families, or at certain specialty eating establishments and bars.[5] They are, however, also readily available at some public venues (e.g., at Coors Field during Colorado Rockies baseball games). Eagle, Idaho, claims to have the "World's Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed" during its Eagle Fun Days (now held the 2nd weekend in July).[7]

The primary goal of testicle removal is not culinary. Castration in veterinary practice and animal husbandry is common and serves a variety of purposes, including the control of breeding, the growth of skeletal muscle suitable for beef, and temperament alteration.[8]

See also[edit]


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