For the love of the Scots! We just had Scottish troubadour and historian Jim Malcolm (former lead singer of the Old Blind Dogs ) over at our house-concert space the Pig & Weasel singing and telling tales. In honor of it all, we welcomed Jim with our best effort at Scotch eggs. He judged these the tastiest he’d ever had. Flattery, sure, but we think they are darn good grub.
So a little history…Go to the website for British gourmet food retailer Fortnum & Mason and you’ll find the claim that the classic Scotch egg was invented by Fortnum’s in 1738. Others say origins go back to farther to a Moghul, egg-stuffed, kofta-ball snack, but the basic gist is the same: Take a boiled egg, wrap it in seasoned sausage and breadcrumbs, fry it to crisp golden perfection, and you’ve got a hearty, portable lunch. There are plenty of variations on the theme, from a black pudding version, to scrumpy (with apples, onion and sage) to Fortnum’s hammy pinkish version.
But of the batches we tried making, our favorite filling was this nearly addictive mix of hot and mild pork sausage, finely chopped onion, chive, sage and lemon thyme and a few squirts of Colman’s Original (spicy!) English Prepared Mustard. It’s a slippery business to get the right amount of sausage wrapped around the egg (no wonder they also call these “egg devils!”) Chilling the sausage first, helps. For good crunch on the outside? Use crispy panko crumbs, mixed with a little salt, freshly ground pepper and more lemon thyme and chive. Be sure to double-dip: roll the sausage wrapped egg in flour, then eggwash, then panko, and then do it a second time (flour/egg-wash/panko) before deep frying. These may be served cold in Scotland, but we think they taste much better fresh out of the fryer. Try them with Thai sweet chili sauce, cilantro and a little wild mesclun mix.
Makes 10 to 12 medium-sized Scotch eggs
Sausage Filling Ingredients
- ½ lb mild pork breakfast sausage (loose, not link)
- 1/2 lb spicy pork breakfast sausage (loose, not link)
- ½ medium onion, very finely diced
- 1 Tbsp finely snipped chives
- 2 tsp finely snipped sage
- 1 Tbsp finely snipped lemon-thyme
- 1 Tbsp Colman’s Original English Prepared Mustard
- fresh cracked pepper
Flour coating Ingredients
2 cups flour
Panko crumb coating Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 – 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp mixed herbs (chive, sage, lemon-thyme)
- 1 tsp salt
Egg wash Ingredients
- 3 eggs
- 3 Tbsp milk
- Boil one dozen medium-sized eggs for 5 minutes. Cool in ice water for 10 minutes. Peel and refrigerate eggs.
- Mix together sausage filling ingredients and chill well.
- Put 2 cups all-purpose flour in a large shallow bowl . In a second large shallow bowl, mix together panko crumbs mixed herbs and salt. In a third large shallow bowl, whisk eggs and milk together.
- Arrange shallow bowls assembly line style with flour first, egg wash next, panko crumbs last.
- Roll your first hard boiled, peeled, chilled egg in flour.
- Scoop about 1/3 cup of sausage mixture onto a square of plastic wrap on your counter. Flatten sausage into an oval, about 1/8 inch thick. Place flour-coated egg on sausage. Lifting plastic wrap, coax the sausage around the egg and then use your hands to pat and smooth the sausage over all of the egg, being careful to crimp all of the edges. NOTE: You just want to cover the egg–if it looks like you have too much excess sausage, pinch it off and save it for the next egg. You don’t want the sausage to be much thicker than ¼ inch, to ensure that the meat will cook all the way through.
- Carefully roll your sausaged-egg in flour patting/shaking off excess. Lightly/quickly roll in eggwash, then in the panko breadcrumb mix, completely covering the surface. Repeat: Roll in flour, then eggwash and finally in the panko.
- Repeat process to cover eggs with sausage and panko.
- Using a deep-fat fryer, heat peanut oil to 375. Place one or two of the sausage-panko-covered eggs in the fry basket and immerse for five minutes. Remove eggs and let rest on paper to blot any fat.
- Slice each egg in half. Serve hot with mustard, or, Thai sweet chili sauce, cilantro and a little mesclun salad mix.