Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scotch Eggs

After enjoying a couple of meals of leftovers from Burns Night, I had the opposite problem that I do after Thanksgiving: no main course and lots of sides. What to do when there's still neeps and tatties but no haggis? Make Scotch eggs, of course.

If you are looking for a healthy meal to work off your post-holiday guilt, go to another blog. We behaved ourselves this year and thus feel no compunction about having the occasional full-fat meal in January. Something about the cold and dark makes for easy reminiscences about our time in London. Scotch eggs were a great grab-and-go snack from the chip shop when there was a long, cold slog home in the dark at the end of the day. Especially when preceded by a pint or two at our local.

I (just me now as this is a strictly carnivore dish) have tried to recapture the magic a few times at theme pubs in the US--most recently at a bar in Savannah, GA which specializes in Scotch whiskey--but have been sorely disappointed in their attempts at Scotch eggs. Once again, the NY Times came to the rescue. The writer of the article that accompanies the recipe shares my aversion to deep frying and she came up with a method that didn't require too much oil or special equipment, so I decided to give it a go. I skipped the horseradish and cornichons as they aren't part of what I remember eating and I just don't care for either.

The heart of the matter, of course, is the egg. The eggs must be hard-boiled like a good detective. Based on my experience, I would recommend getting very small eggs--definitely not jumbo or extra-large. If you have your own chickens, this recipe would be a great use for those small, early attempts by first-time layers. After cooking and peeling the eggs, it's time to get messy.

Each egg gets rolled in flour, completely encased in sausage, rolled in flour again, covered in beaten egg, and rolled in panko. This is the stage where you will realize your error if you used very large eggs: massive snowball effect.

The presence of my wonderful new digital thermometer means it's time to get the oil going. Fortunately, it's only half an inch of olive oil in a medium sauce pot.

Definitely verify that the heat is up at 350 degrees before cooking. I tried to eyeball it then checked with the thermometer. I can tell you that 250 and 350 look an awful lot alike if you're just looking in the pot. How gloriously fast the Scotch eggs browned up. Do be sure to leave them in long enough for the sausage to cook through. My big fat eggs took a bit longer than the recommended 7 or 8 minutes. You may want to just cook one first, cut it open, and verify doneness before doing the whole batch (if it's undercooked, finish it in the microwave).

This is what success looks like:

But wait--there's the final test: how does it look on the inside?

Perfection! I couldn't be happier with the look or the taste. In my enthusiasm, I made the mistake of eating two of them and that just about killed me. One of these big bad boys was more than enough for a meal. And as happy as I am with the result, I don't think I'll be eating these often. It's just fun to know that I have the option whenever London's calling. Or Edinburgh.

1 comment:

  1. Scotch eggs with neeps and tatties! One of my versions of heaven.