Scotch eggs are traditionally part of British cuisine, and even though they’re still widely available in pubs, their popularity has risen enough that even casual diners may have them on the menu. At its most basic, scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded, and then baked or fried. The number of variations however, are endless as you can alter the type of coating, the sausage flavor, the degree of doneness for the egg, the type of egg and the dipping sauce served.
All scotch eggs need a well-boiled egg. While hard-boiled eggs are the most common, soft-boiled eggs, with a still runny yolk, are increasingly used, especially in higher-end restaurants. Cook eggs for 6 minutes in boiling water for a soft-boiled egg, and 8 to 10 minutes for a hard-boiled egg. Though chicken eggs are the most commonly used, quail eggs make delicious bite-sized scotch eggs, while duck eggs make for an over-sized version. Dunk all eggs, hard or soft boiled, in an ice water bath immediately after cooking to make it easier to peel.
About the Sausage
The type of sausage you wrap the egg in will affect the flavor of the egg the most -- other than the sauce, that is. Polish sausage or lightly seasoned pork sausages, such as Italian sausage, are the most common. However, can use any type of sausage, including your favorite casing sausage -- simply squeeze the meat out of the casing. If you are using frozen sausage, defrost it overnight in the fridge for food safety. Take a ball of sausage meat in one hand, and pat flat with the other. Use between a 1/4- to a 1/2-inch thickness of sausage, wrapping it smoothly around the cooked, shelled egg. The scotch eggs can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge on a tray until ready to cook. Store for no longer than one to two days.
Coating and Baking
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and roll the sausage-wrapped eggs in seasoned breadcrumbs for a classic scotch egg. Add salt, garlic powder and paprika to breadcrumbs to taste, rolling to coat evenly. For a more upscale version of scotch eggs, use panko crumbs in place of the breadcrumbs. In some cases, if you want a thicker, crunchier shell, double dip the eggs. Dip first in flour, followed by an egg wash and then the final coating of breadcrumbs or panko. Place the crusted scotch eggs on a baking or broiling tray, and cook in the oven on a center rack. Cook for 20 to 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the sausage wrap. You can also fry them in oil heated to 350 degrees F.
Serving the Eggs
Serve the warm scotch eggs whole, halved or cut into quarters. Smaller scotch eggs, like those made from quail’s eggs, are small enough to be served and eaten whole, but cutting one or two in half shows off the pretty egg. Use a mustard- or vinegar-based dipping sauce to cut the richness of the egg. A mix of Dijon, mayonnaise, roasted red pepper puree, apple cider vinegar and smoked paprika makes for a hearty dip that can withstand the richness and strong flavors of a scotch egg. For something lighter, serve with a corn relish or plain, garnished by a couple of homemade pickles.
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