Angels on horseback are oysters wrapped in bacon, served on buttered toast. Traditionally, the toast is cut into triangular pieces (aka “toast points.”)
Some people speculate that the “angel” part of the name comes from the curled edges of the cooked oyster, resembling (someone thought) wings.
To make them, you start with fresh oysters.
Per every 12 oysters, allow about 6 pieces of bacon. The bacon needs to be streaky (e.g. American style fatty bacon.)
The assembly process can be as simple as wrapping an oyster in a small piece of bacon, adding it to a skewer with others already on it, toasting them all over a flame until the bacon is crisp, then serving with buttered toast. Or wrap them in bacon, fasten with a toothpick, toss under your broiler (aka grill in the UK), and cook just until bacon is crisp.
Some versions marinate the oysters first in a flavourful liquid for a few minutes; more elaborate versions call for pancetta instead of bacon, or use herbed butter or fish paste on the toast. Sometimes the “angels” are served in their shells instead of on toast. One variation has the shucked oyster left in its half shell, covered with a piece of bacon, and broiled like that.
Sometimes you’ll see shrimp or scallop substituted for the oyster, and the dish still called “Angels on Horseback.” Occasionally, you’ll even see it made with hotdog wieners and processed cheese slices and still called “Angels on Horseback”, but like many things in life, sometimes you do just have to draw a line, however out of step with the times it makes you look.
Angels on Horseback was a popular Victorian dish in England, served particularly as a savoury snack after meals.