18 March 2010

Scotch Eggs

A Scotch egg, i.e. a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage meat, is the ultimate picnic food, portable, nourishing and a world apart from your ordinary supper fare. I had wanted to have a go at them for a long time but without a deep-fat fryer, it is virtually impossible to fry a round object evenly, and I did not fancy either a half-cooked or burnt result. So I was pleased to come across a recipe which used cooked ingredients, namely cooked ham instead of raw sausage stuffing.

The recipe is from the book "Two Fat Ladies - Gastronomic Adventures [with motorbike and sidecar]" which accompanies the TV series (watch it, if you ever get the chance!!). This is the first recipe I've tried from this book, and it did not work as specified but with a few adjustments along the way, I managed to prepare what my husband called the best Scotch eggs he's ever eaten - and he's eaten a few. The principle is simple, you hard-boil eggs, make a batter of bread crumbs, cooked ham, anchovies and spices, and encase the eggs in this. I found that the batter itself was too dry to work with, it simply would not stay together. I'm inclined to forgive the recipe for this, however, on the basis that bread crumbs and eggs will vary in their make-up. I simply added milk to the batter until it was pliable but not wet, and would urge you to do the same.

10 eggs
115 g breadcrumbs
225g cooked ham
6 anchovy fillets
pinch sweet paprika powder
pinch hot paprika powder
black pepper
a little milk, if needed

Boil 8 of the eggs for 5-7 minutes, you want them to be hard-boiled but still retaining a slightly soft centre. For the batter, process ham and anchovies, mix in with the bread crumbs and spices (the original recipe used all spice, I substituted paprika). Beat the remaining two eggs together and add most of this mixture to the batter. You want the batter to stay as dry as possible yet it needs to be pliable enough to stick together, you will simply have to experiment a little.

eggs and batter

Cool and peel the eggs, brush with beaten egg and encase in batter (or so the recipe specified; I ended up using all of the beaten egg in the batter, plus extra milk to bind, and did not brush the eggs before coating in batter; the batter stayed on very well nonetheless).

slightly blurred (coy?) egg getting dressed

I thought it a good idea to leave the coated eggs in the fridge for ca. 30 minutes but you may omit this step.

eggs fully dressed

Fry the eggs in a mixture of butter and oil, use a generous amount to prevent sticking to the pan. As all ingredients are cooked, you simply want to achieve an appetising golden crust. Be careful not to overcook them, as this will cause the batter to crack and fall apart.

Enjoy with a salad or take in you lunch box.

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