Normally he will go quite poetic about these things and we always buy a pack for various family outings and I've long been thinking about trying my hand at them. I wouldn't dream of eating shop-bought ones, they just look scary to me. Would I brave trying the ones I made myself?
So I went for Heston's Scotch Eggs, the second card I picked out from Ye Olde Recipe Collection, in my latest search for food inspiration.
Swapped out ingredient is the chives, I skipped them, since I had a perfectly nice bunch of salad onions at home ready to be eaten.
2 fat salad onions
450 g pork sausagemeat stuffing
1 heaped tsp of dried thyme
45 g French's mustard
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp water
salt and pepper
10 medium eggs
50 ml milk
4 tbsp plain flour
125 g dry large breadcrumbs
grapeseed oil for frying
- Slice and then finely chop the salad onions.
- Mix the onions together with the sausagemeat stuffing, thyme, mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and water thoroughly, then weigh the lot and divide into 8 equal patties.
Cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Place 8 of the eggs in a saucepan, cover up to 2 cm above with water and place on a high heat and bring to the boil.
- As soon as the water boils, set a timer for 1 minute 45 seconds. Once the timer runs out, remove the saucepan from the heat, pour out the hot water and pour cold water over the eggs. Let it pour for a few minutes until they have cooled down enough to handle.
- Carefully tap the eggs with a knife to break up the shells, then peel off. Rinse the eggs to remove any small pieces of shell sticking to them, then pat dry.
- Break the remaining two eggs in a bowl and gently whisk together with the milk. Place the plain flour in a second bowl and the bread crumbs in a third bowl.
Line up flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
- Pour the oil in the saucepan and heat up on medium high heat. The idea is to simulate a deep fryer, so there should be oil to about 3 cm depth. Heat up the oil on medium-high.
- Prepare a grill pan with a rack, by placing aluminium foil at the bottom, then several layers of kitchen tissues and the rack on top of the tissue.
- Prepare a small bowl of water, then take out the meat patties from the fridge. Wet your hands, then take a patty at a time and flatten it along the palm of a hand.
- Place one egg in the mince mixture, then close the hand to cover the egg. Gently and carefully keep moving the mince so that the egg is completely covered with it.
Don't be tempted to roll between the palms of the hands like with buns or meatballs, this will only break up the coating.
- Now, roll the first Scotch egg in the flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs, then carefully place in the small saucepan to fry.
- The oil should be very hot and start bubbling as the Scotch egg goes in. With a slotted spoon, carefully maneuver the egg around so that it fries all around.
- Fry only until the egg gets a nice golden brown colour all over, shouldn't be more than a minute.
- Take out with the slotted spoon and let drip off as much as possible over the saucepan, then place on the rack of the grill pan. The kitchen tissue will soak up any leftover fat drips.
- Repeat with the other Scotch eggs. The dipping procedure is quite messy, so try to do it with only one hand, leaving the other one clean for the frying.
- If you need to top up on the oil, do so, but wait until it has heated up well before resuming the frying.
- When all 8 Scotch eggs are done, clean off your hand, then remove the kitchen tissue from under the roasting rack.
- Replace the roasting rack in the roasting tin, then put the eggs in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.
The idea is to serve these hot and freshly cooked and hopefully with the yolks still a little runny. This didn't quite work out for me, next time I might try a different approach to boiling the eggs - not from cold, but from hot, that is place the eggs in the saucepan and pour boiling water on them from the kettle.
I served with boiled Jersey Royals which are now in season, some lovely wine ripened tomatoes and mini pickled gherkins, the last of which worked particularly well with the Scotch eggs. Yes, this is definitely a keeper as recipes go, though given the amount of fat required, I won't be making it too often. Possibly I can get away with even less fat than I used too. The trick of using a small saucepan and doing one at a time was quite good. I was just about able to prepare the next egg, while one was frying.
I had some flour, eggs and breadcrumbs left over afterwards and mixed them all together, then dripped into the fat, while it was still on the hob. Then I kept stirring for a couple of minutes, before removing onto more kitchen tissue. This was just an experiment, since I would be throwing away both the fat and the dipping bits. And a good thing I did too, it turned out rather nice, though it remained quite pale. With the seasoning I had something that can be compared to savoury French toast in the shape of popcorn. It could make an alternative to croutons in a salad or just as a snack. Well, I liked the taste of it anyway. Health-obsessed Lundulph just tut-tut-ed at me.