Scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs which are shelled, coated in sausage meat then egged and crumbed, and deep-fried. They used to be something that pubs sometimes had as a racy alternative to ham sandwiches, pickled eggs and crisps. Today, when pubs can’t make their minds up about whether – as family restaurants – they should really be serving drink at all, Scotch eggs have largely disappeared in favour of delicacies like soup-in-the-basket and microwaved lasagne. People should rediscover the joy of first-rate Scotch eggs by making them at home.
First, do not boil the eggs too long. The yolk should only just be set, because the deep-frying will cook them further – not much, because the sausage makes an effective insulation against the heat, but enough to make the centre too dry if the egg has been hard-boiled. There is no need to flour the shelled egg before wrapping it in the sausage meat. Instead, flour the coating before rolling in beaten egg and then in fresh crumbs. To be quite certain the coating will hold, repeat the whole process a second time.
Deep-fry in oil preheated to 180°C/ 350°F for 8–10 minutes, turning with a slotted spoon to ensure even cooking. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the heat will drop too far and excessive oil absorption will occur. Precise cooking time will depend on the thickness of the sausage-meat coating. Drain on kitchen paper and serve while still hot.
Try making them with quails’ eggs for a smaller and more delicate variation on the theme. These make great party food, the ultimate British mezze.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.