Picnic food is my absolute fave. I am genuinely just as happy at a schmancy restaurant as I am with snacking sausages. Mini quiches, pork pies, and of course, scotch eggs, are my weakness all year round. I’m either setting them out on a blanket in a park in the summer or popping them on paper plates, atop a holly-printed table cloth for Christmas gatherings. So, it’s about time I learned how to make them myself, right?
First up, it’s the humble scotch egg. And though it’s humble, there are quite a lot of things that have to be right about it…
The egg – the most important element of a scotch egg and the easiest bit to fluff up. The yolk has to be gooey. Not necessarily runny, (believe me, it is tres difficile to wrap too runny an egg in sausage meat and deep-fry it without having a crushed orange mess dribbling down your hand), but definitely soft. A creamy, slightly wet yolk is what is required. And the white bit has to be firm and clean.
The meat – I’m a traditionalist when it comes to ‘dirty snacks’ as my boyfriend calls them. I generally prefer a pork sausage meat wrap around my egg. Good quality sausages too, like The Black Farmer or Heck. However, I’ve just experimented with this chorizo scotch egg recipe and it was divine. I pepped it up with coriander and cayenne pepper and it was SO GOOD.
The breadcrumbs – despite the ease with which I will eat a whole stick of butter or 3 tonnes of chocolate, I’m a little adverse to deep-fried breadcrumbed things. I’m slowly but surely getting over it – Alex’s insanely good homemade fried chicken is largely responsible – but I’m still quite particular. I prefer the southern fried style; a slightly thinner layer of breadcrumb and lighter in shade. And the type of breadcrumb is important too: I favour Panko.
The temperature – it’s one or tother. The scotch egg either needs to be one stop from burny-mouth town OR chillingly cold from the fridge. There is no middle ground here, people.
Without further adieu, and with all of the above in mind, here’s my very own perfect scotch egg recipe…
Makes 1 scotch egg
1 medium free-range egg
2 chorizo sausages (I used these)
Fresh coriander, chopped
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper
Put a large pan of water on the hob and once boiling, add the egg gently. Let it cook for 7 minutes.
Set out three bowls: one with a little flour, one with the egg wash, and one with a generous pour of breadcrumbs mixed with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Meanwhile, squeeze the sausage meat from its casings and mash in a bowl with your hands. Mix in a sprinkle of salt, black pepper, and coriander, and roll the mixture into a neat ball.
Put the sausage ball in a sandwich bag or between two sheets of clingfilm. Flatten it evenly into a large circle. This circle needs to be big enough to wrap around your boiling egg but not so big that there’s too much overlapping.
Once the egg has boiled, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and run it under the cold tap for a minute or two. Carefully peel the egg and rinse again to ensure there are no pesky bits of shell left on it.
Now, roll the egg in the flour and place it in the centre of your sausage circle. VERY carefully, fold the meat around the egg and pinch all of the edges together. Trim off any excess meat if you need to, and keep in mind that there’s a soft yolk in there, so you don’t want to squeeze too hard!
Pass the wrapped egg gently from one hand to the other to create a smooth, tight ball.
Next, roll the ball in flour. Then roll it through the egg wash. Then roll it through the breadcrumbs. It should be looking like a scotch egg now.
Depending on your desired thickness of breadcrumb, roll the scotch egg through the egg wash for a second time, and again through the breadcrumbs. I’m a single layer of breadcrumb kind of girl though.
If you have a deep-fat fryer, heat it to 160 degrees and carefully lower the scotch egg into the oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes, turning it halfway through.
If you’re using a frying pan, make sure it’s a deep one and fill it with oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes and turn throughout for an even colour.
Serve straight away or allow to cool and then put it in the fridge until you’re ready.