What better way to kick-start the blog than with a scotch egg?
This intrinsically British dish contains three potentially unsavoury ingredients:
- Hard boiled egg (delicious when done right, but so much scope to create a hard, rubbery monstrosity)
- Sausage meat (intimidatingly pink and fleshy)
- Deep-fried breadcrumb outside (reminiscent of a night-out-in-Scotland-gone-wrong ending with battered food of any genre– pizza, mars bars, haggis…)
BUT when everything combines in a scotch egg, and it all goes right, it’s heaven in an eggy ball. The key is to make it yourself – a homemade scotch egg is completely different from a supermarket scotch egg in a layby picnic…
So this is why, this weekend, I thought I’d have a go myself. My boyfriend perked up at the idea of me making a meat-based pub snack, and decided to join me in my culinary experiment, on the condition that the egg had had a RUNNY MIDDLE. Easier said than done.
I started by boiling the egg for a ludicrously short amount of time…which made it almost impossible to peel, and liable to disintegrate.
After a couple of disastrous trials, I consulted an online recipe, and found out that the key is to start the egg in cold water, heat it up, and then time 1 MINUTE 45 SECONDS as soon as the water starts to boil – perfection!
Stop the egg from cooking by plunging it in cold water, peel it, and then flavour the sausage meat. Seeing as my window box of herbs was looking a bit bleak, I turned to a pot of chilli in the fridge which gave the finished egg a real kick – traditionalists might want to stick with spring onions/parsley/pepper/thyme, but if you’re feeling experimental, then I’d really recommend the chilli!
Coat your egg in sausage meat, then dust it in some flour, dip it in egg, and roll it in breadcrumbs – like you’re making a schnitzel.
(Incidentally, as I refuse to buy breadcrumbs out of principal, I blended some rye bread I had lying about, and popped the crumbs in the oven just long enough to dry them out.)
Get your oil really hot – chuck in something like a bit of crust and check that it’s all nicely sizzling away to make sure that it’s up to temperature. Finally dunk in your breaded scotch egg and watch it brown nicely which should take a couple of minutes.
Fish it out carefully, and then put it into a warm oven for 10 minutes – this ensures that the sausage meat gets cooked properly.
Phew! Not exactly a ‘quick lunch’ but it was worth the effort…I also have a new-found respect for homemade eggs that get whisked out in pubs – from my experience, they’re between about £2-£4. Seeing as it took me about 3 hours to make my egg, that works out at about £1/hour paid in man-hours which either means that they’re actually very good value for money, or there’s some sort of egg-making sweat-shop outside these establishments!