Sunday, 8 May 2011

Scotch Eggs are Not Scottish

Runny yolks courtesy of Blumethal
According to Heston, that is, and who am I to argue? Apparently they were invented by Fortnum & Mason in the 19th century, especially for posh picnics. I like Fortnum & Mason and I also like Scotch Eggs. The butcher local to my parents sells home made ones and if you're lucky they're still hot when you get your greedy mitts on them. Last time I was home, I found myself alone in the kitchen and found...a Scotch egg in the fridge with my name on it. At least it should have had my name on it because I gobbled it down before even getting a plate and a dollop of mustard. I thought it was about time I had a go at making them, especially as Mum had told me they are very messy. Sounded like a challenge.

This recipe is adapted from the one Heston Blumenthal did for Waitrose, no dry ice in sight, but mercifully straighforward instructions. You can mess about with the sausage meat as much as you like, but what I did nick from him was his method for cooking the eggs, essential if you want runny yolks, and it worked perfectly, much to my surprise.

Makes 8. Pre-heat oven to 190. Place 8 eggs in a pan of cold water, put on a high heat and as soon as the water starts simmering set a timer for 1 minute 45 seconds. Seriously. Quickly fill a bowl with iced water and when the time is up remove the eggs and put them in the iced water. In a bowl mix the meat from 6 large (i.e. not chipolatas) decent sausages and mix with a big pinch of thyme, a tsp or two of mustard (any I reckon) a pinch of cayenne pepper, seasoning and a packet of chives, chopped, and a tiny splash of water. Roll into 8 balls and chill for 20 minutes.

Very gently, peel the eggs, this is not easy as they are soft boiled and very fragile, you will need patience and delicate fingers! Roll the eggs gently, this will crack the shell all over and help. Don't panic if you damage the eggs a bit, they will be covered up, no-one will know. Take 3 bowls and into them put a few tbsp plain flour, two beaten eggs with a splash of milk, and approx 150g breadcrumbs. Take a sausage ball, flatten between your hands, and with the meat covering the palm of one hand, place an egg in the middle and gentlly wrap the meat around, be gentle. When all the eggs have a meaty blanket heat some veg or groundnut oil (enough to cover 2 eggs) in a saucepan and heat until a cube of bread browns fairly quickly in it. Dip each meaty egg into the flour, then eggy milk, then the breadcrumbs, making sure the whole surface is covered. Very carefully plop them into the oil, only two at a time and deep fry until golden, two or three minutes. It's a good idea to give them a nudge every now and again to stop potential sticking. Drain on some kitchen roll. When they're all done give them 10 minutes in the oven and then serve immediately. Nice with a salad to counteract the richness.

The moment of truth is when you slice one open, and then, halleluja, the orange yolk oozes out all over the place and all is well in the world.

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