Angels on horseback is a hot appetiser 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.
Classic Preparation of Angels on horseback
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 3 minutes per side, or prepared with any other source of dry heat, 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 in-between.”
The Maltese variant uses pieces of chicken liver wrapped in slices of streaky bacon.
- 3-5 dozen small oysters, shucked
- 12-30 strips thinly cut bacon
- 2-3 lemons
- Slice the bacon strips in half. It is very important to get thin-cut bacon for this recipe, as thick bacon overwhelms the oysters. Likewise, it is important to get small oysters -- otherwise they become too large a mouthful.
- Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each oyster and secure with a toothpick. Arrange on a broiling pan or get a grill ready.
- Place the bacon-wrapped oysters under the broiler until they're crispy, about 5-6 minutes. How long this will take on your grill depends on the heat.
- Take the oysters out and turn them over. Return to the broiler and crisp the other side. This should take about 2-4 minutes.
- Serve on a big platter. Don't hit them with lemon juice until right before you serve them, otherwise it ruins the crispiness of the bacon.