Angels on Horseback (Bacon-Wrapped Oysters with Horseradish)

There is a little seafood restaurant in the West Village that has become a favorite of ours. It's named FISH, and is a low-key sort of place with wooden tables, chalkboard menus, and peanut shells on the floor.

I've been going there regularly since I moved to New York a little over 5 years ago, and with few exceptions, I always order the exact same meal:  a heaping pile of lobster cob salad for my main (try this similar rock shrimp cob salad recipe here) and Angels on Horseback to start.

If you've never tried them before, Angels on Horseback--especially as they are prepared at FISH--are a revelation. Shucked oysters wrapped in crispy double-smoked bacon topped with cocktail sauce and horseradish.

The perfect combination of salty, briny, smokey and sweet, these tend to disappear within minutes of touching the table. I love them so much that on one visit with a friend, I ordered a second round as my "dessert."

I highly recommend it if you're ever in town.

For Valentine's Day this year, Eugene and I decided to keep it low-key with an easy (but still decadent!) dinner at home. I've found that most restaurants are terrible at Valentine's Day, rushing everyone through and serving a menu that replaces all their usual best dishes with silly themed items (pickled rose petals?!) served at a premium price.

I was having none of that, and instead planned a meal freshly baked sourdough bread with Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor cheese, kale and roasted sweet potato salad with anchovy dressing (recipe coming soon!), broiled lobster tails, spicy roasted red pepper potatoes, and (the pièce de résistance!) homemade Angels on Horseback to start.

Dessert was a big bowl of chocolate-covered strawberries. We stayed in our comfy pajamas, opened a bottle of Champagne, and ate our feast on the couch while catching up on our favorite shows.

It was perfection. (Hudson thought so, too.)

The Angels on Horseback were something of my gift to Eugene, who is a fan, and was absolutely delighted to be presented with an entire platter of them. They're very easy to prepare, and are wonderful for entertaining since they can be prepped almost completely in advance and then simply call for a couple minutes under the broiler to heat before serving.

They pair perfectly with Champagne or crisp white wine, so would make a wonderful Oscar viewing party appetizer if you're so inclined.

(Never mind if your "viewing party" is just you on the couch!)

I have a couple tips that I figured out when making these at home that will make this as easy as possible for you:
  • Start with pre-shucked oysters. You can usually get a container of them at the seafood counter or just pick oysters and have the fishmonger shuck them for you. (I got mine from Fresh Direct.)  
  • If you have the option, ask to keep the shells as you can then serve them on the shell (I didn't, but that's how they do it at the restaurant and it's quite lovely.)
  • Use good quality, thick bacon from the meat counter. I love Schaller & Weber's Black Forest, but any kind of good double-smoked bacon will do.  You can use the one in the packets, but it's a great place to show off the good stuff so do it if you can.
  • Cook the bacon on a skillet or on the stove before wrapping the oysters. This assures that you get crisp bacon without overcooking the oysters. 
  • Wrap the oysters and prep everything in advance, then broil and garnish just before serving. 

Don't like or can't find oysters? You can also use scallops or shrimp. (Though this is technically called "mock rumaki," a retro appetizer that I served at my 1960s cocktail party) I would avoid clams as they can be a bit too chewy.

For a seafood-free version, try making my Bacon-Wrapped Dates, which are known as Devils on Horseback.

Love Always Order Dessert? Let's connect! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!

Angels on Horseback (Bacon-Wrapped Oysters with Horseradish Appetizer Recipe)
Makes 12 appetizers. Multiply recipe as necessary.

6 strips smoked thick-cut bacon
12 shucked raw oysters
1/2 cup cocktail sauce (homemade or store-bought)
3/4 cup freshly grated horseradish (or use prepared horseradish for a tangier flavor)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment: 12 toothpicks

Cut bacon slices in half. Place a skillet over low heat and add the bacon, cooking on both sides until slightly cooked but still pliable (do not let bacon get completely crispy or you won't be able to wrap it around the oyster).

Let bacon cool, then place on oyster on the end and wrap so that the bacon completely overlaps it by at least one inch. Use a toothpick to secure in place.

When ready to serve. Preheat your broiler and arrange prepared bacon-wrapped oysters on a baking sheet. Broil about 3-5 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp on top and oysters have shrunken slightly. Remove from oven and and place on serving platter. Top each one with a dollop of cocktail sauce and a generous pile of horseradish. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.


No comments

Hi there and thank you for reading! This blog is not currently active, so new questions are not being monitored. Please enjoy the archives.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Back to Top