Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain oysters, also known as prairie oysters, are a
North American culinary name for edible offal, specifically buffalo
or bull testicles. They are usually peeled, coated in flour, pepper
and salt, sometimes pounded flat, then deep-fried. This delicacy is
most often served as an appetizer.
It is a well-known novelty dish in parts of the American West and
the Canadian Prairies where cattle ranching is prevalent and
castration of young animals is common ("prairie oysters" is the
preferred name in Canada, where they may be served in a demi-glace,
not deep-fried). In Oklahoma and North Texas, they are sometimes
called calf fries but only if taken from very young bulls.
In Spain and many parts of Mexico they are referred to as "criadillas"
and are colloquially referred to as huevos del toro (literally,
"bull�s eggs" but huevos is also a Spanish slang term for testicles)
in Central and South America. Rocky Mountain oysters are sometimes
confused with lamb fries or animelles (lamb testicles), which are
served in a manner similar to Rocky Mountain oysters.
A few other descriptive terms, such as "cowboy caviar," "Montana
tendergroins," or "swinging beef," may be used.
The dish, purportedly cowboy fare, is most commonly found served
at festivals, such as the ones in Montana and Phoenix, Arizona,
amongst ranching families, or at certain specialty eating
establishments and bars. Eagle, Idaho, claims to have the "World's
Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed" during its Eagle Fun Days
(typically the first weekend in June). Usually this meat product is
sold frozen, as it is inconvenient to get them fresh.
The primary goal of testicle removal is not necessarily 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