A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in herbed sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried. Not exactly your cup of tea? Read on as you bloody well might fancy them by the time you get to Cameron Prather’s recipe.
Across the pond, Scotch eggs are a popular and portable snack food, commonly found in picnic baskets, Renaissance festivals and, in miniature (quail eggs), at cocktail parties. Served with a hearty mustard or chutney, they are also jolly good pub grub, just the thing to warm one’s belly on a blustery fall day. A one-time British staple, Scotch eggs fell into a bit of obscurity thanks to a wave of popular American eats (burgers, pizza, fried chicken and the like). Thankfully, what is old is new again as chefs all over Britain, and the world, are putting their own spin on Britain’s favourite bite: vegetarian, smoked, grilled, encased in cheese, duck meat or seafood. There are Mexican, Japanese, Dutch, West African, Brazilian and Filipino spins on this quintessential Anglo delicacy.
The origins of Scotch eggs are as foggy as a London morning. Fortnum and Mason, the posh London provisioner, claims to have invented the easily carried comestible in 1738 for its wealthy coach travelers. Others assert that this ultimate British fast food was inspired by the Persian dish nargisi kofta, hard-boiled eggs encased in spicy mincemeat. An equally plausible theory is that Scotch eggs, similar to Cornish pasties, were a poor farmer’s lunch, made from bits ‘n’ bobs and leftovers that were easy to transport.
Whatever the origin, Scotch eggs, served with porter mustard and winter squash chutney, are a smashing cold weather nosh.
SCOTCH EGGS RECIPE
Recipe by Cameron Prather Serves 4
6 large free-range eggs
1 pound ground pork
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Big pinch each of red pepper flakes, cayenne, rosemary
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
11⁄2–2 cups of plain bread crumbs Canola or vegetable oil (for deep frying)
- Put 4 eggs in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then transfer eggs to a bowl of cold water and set aside.
- Place ground pork, chives and parsley in a bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, roughly grind fennel seeds, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne and rosemary, then add to the pork, along with a good grating of nutmeg. Mix it well with your hands and divide into 4 balls.
- Peel the cooked eggs (the older the eggs, the easier they are to peel).
- Prepare a breading station: 1 dish of flour, 1 dish of the 2 remaining eggs, beaten, and 1 dish of the bread crumbs.
To make the Scotch eggs:
- Roll each egg in the flour, shaking off excess. With the palm of your hand, flatten a ball of pork into a thin patty. Place the floured egg in the middle and gently shape the meat evenly around the egg, completely covering egg.
- Roll the meat-wrapped egg in the flour, shaking off excess, then dip it into the beaten egg. Then roll the egg in the bread crumbs to get a good even coating. Repeat with remaining eggs.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan to about 300°. Fry the eggs, turning often, to a deep golden brown, about 4 minutes.
Cool the eggs slightly and then serve with your favorite mustard, some homemade chutney, a fresh green salad.
COOK: For Cameron Prather’s porter mustard and winter squash chutney recipes, click here.
This story was originally published in September 2014.