Friday, March 30, 2018

Scotch eggs

Scotch egg needs no introduction. A picnic fave with English origins, although it may have been inspired by the Mughlai dish - nargisi kofta.  A well made scotch egg is a perfectly soft boiled egg encased in sausage meat flavored with herbs, breaded and deep fried to a crisp golden perfection. The best part is cutting into that soft-boiled yolk - one of life's simple pleasures. Makes for a perfect and convenient picnic food and this year it is my Easter Egg recipe.

This dish requires just a few ingredients, eggs, meat and the breading stuff.
Soft yolk or?
Egg is the important part of the recipe and so is the debate of how much to cook the eggs. I love our scotch eggs a little soft in the center but if you prefer them more robust then use hard boiled eggs instead. Truth be told, soft center eggs are a little delicate to handle through the breading and frying process. Each time I make them I find myself holding my breath till the task is done. But the reward is quite gratifying.
The mince
The sausage meat requires no special flavors, just a dash of nutmeg with some herbs of your choice. Some recipes call for addition of garlic or other veggies, I personally don't think it makes much of a flavor boost. So I keep it simple.
Crispy coating
The breading process is super important for a crunchy output; and so I like to use the Panko bread crumbs. Don't skip any part of the breading process. This sequence is important since breadcrumbs won't stick without the egg wash, and egg wash won't stick without the flour dusting.
Fry or bake?
And finally, deep frying at medium hot temperature cooks the meat through properly without affecting the softness of the egg yolk. Some recipes call for baking, but I like them fried.

These crisp golden beauties taste awesome hot from the frying pan and we love them with vinegar onions on the side. So get breading and frying.

Ingredients: (Makes 5)
6 eggs
1 lb pork (or turkey) sausages with casings removed
Pinch nutmeg
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (my choice chives, parsley, and thyme)
Panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, to fry
  1. Boiling Eggs - In a deep pan bring some water to boil. Place egg in a spoon and gently lower it into the boiling water, so as not to crack it. Repeat for 4 more eggs. Meanwhile, keep ready a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes. 
  2. Boil eggs for 4½ minutes. I like my Scotch eggs a little runny in the middle, but if you prefer a hard-boiled center, boil the eggs for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain out the water and plunge the 5 boiled eggs in the prepared ice bath for a few minutes. This will stop any further cooking of the yolk and will also prevent them from turning grey. 
  3. Prepping the Meat - Mix together sausage meat, nutmeg, and herbs in a bowl and divide them into five portions.
  4. Carefully peel the eggs. Prepare an assembly line for breading the eggs. Put seasoned flour in the first bowl. Beat the remaining 1 raw egg in a second bowl with a splash of milk and tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl. 
  5. Breading - Take one portion of the sausage meat and flatten it in your palm. Place a peeled boiled egg in the center and encase in the meat by smoothing it into an egg shape. Important to keep an even coating of sausage all around, and not too thick. 
  6. If doing this by hand is difficult for you, use the cling film trick. Place a square of clingfilm on the work surface, and oil lightly. Put one of the meatballs in the center, and put another square of oiled cling film on top. Roll out the meat until large enough to encase an egg and remove the top sheet of clingfilm. Place a boiled peeled egg in the center, bring up the sides of the film to encase it, and smooth it with your hands.
  7. Give each prepared egg a light dusting of flour, dip in the egg wash and then roll onto the breadcrumbs. This sequence is important since breadcrumbs won't stick without the egg wash, and egg wash won't stick without the flour dusting. 
  8. Frying - Fill a deep pan half with oil and heat to 340°F /170°C (till breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden when dropped). Fry the eggs for 7-8 minutes until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and serve hot with vinegar onions. 

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