Rule Britannia!

I’m heading to the Oregon coast this weekend with family and took this as perfect opportunity to get in the kitchen to prepare a few beach picnic treats, and what screams classic British more than the scotch egg? Portable, patriotic and most importantly, delicious. Home-made scotch eggs are a thing of beauty, the size of a cricket ball, with a crisp, golden exterior giving way to moist sausage meat encasing a perfectly boiled egg.

This recipe is geared towards taking my scotch eggs to the beach as part of a picnic hamper, because of this I have chosen to hard-boil the egg to give a slightly soft (yet robust) yolk. If you were making these scotch eggs and serving straight from the fryer then I would recommend decreasing the egg boiling time to give a runnier yolk. After all cutting into a soft-boiled egg yolk is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Makes 4

6 free-range eggs
400g pork sausage meat (use a sausage meat with at least 25% pork fat to prevent drying out in the fryer)
3 tbsp dried herbs (I like to use sage, parsley and thyme)
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tbsp English mustard powder
Splash of full-fat milk
50g plain flour
100g panko breadcrumbs (not English but I like the super crisp exterior you only get from panko breadcrumbs)
Maldon sea salt flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
Vegetable oil (for frying)

1. Put four of the eggs into a heavy bottom pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes (three minutes for a runny yolk). Drain and put eggs directly into a large bowl of ice water for ten minutes.

2. Combine the sausage meat, dried herbs, ground clove and English mustard powder in a bowl, season with Maldon sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and mix well with your hands. Divide into four and leave to rest at room temperature.

3. Carefully peel the eggs from their shells.

4. Arrange three same size bowls in an assembly line. Put the plain flour into the first bowl and season with Maldon sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, beat the remaining two eggs with the full-fat milk in the second bowl, then tip the panko breadcrumbs into the third bowl.

5. Lightly flour your hands and take one of the sausage meat balls in your palm. Flatten the sausage meat between your palms until large enough to encase an egg. Leave flattened sausage meat in your left palm.

6. To assemble the scotch egg, roll one of the peeled boiled eggs in the seasoned flour (bowl one), then put in the centre of the flattened sausage meat. Bring up the sides of the sausage meat to encase the egg, and smooth it around the egg with your hands. Repeat with each boiled egg.

7. Dip each sausage meat covered egg in the seasoned flour (bowl one), then beaten egg (bowl two), then panko breadcrumbs (bowl three). To ensure an extra crispy exterior re-dip in the beaten egg and then panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with each scotch egg.

8. Fill a deep-fat fryer (or large pan) a third full with vegetable oil, and heat to 170 Centigrade (or when a crumb of bread sizzles and turns golden, but does not burn, when dropped in it). Cook the scotch eggs two at a time, for approximately seven minutes, until crisp and golden, then drain on a wire rack.

Pour yourself a beer and serve the scotch eggs sliced (sprinkle the yolk with a pinch of Maldon seas salt to season) with a side of your favourite mustard for dipping and a dressed mixed leaf salad.

Scotch Egg

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