Sunday, January 08, 2012

Scotch Eggs - Kicked up!

I've been wanting to try baked Scotch eggs for some time. If you're not familiar with these little delights, a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg, encased in sausage meat. Usually they are deep-fried, which I never do. A couple years ago I googled baked Scotch eggs, and sure enough, there were baked versions.

At the Farmer's Market in Saskatoon, the annual WinterShines festival, a celebration/embracing of winter is coming up and the Market vendors are being encouraged to remain open a little longer. People coming to WinterShines will presumably be looking for items to buy that can be carried about and eaten while mulling about. The Scotch eggs came to mind, and the chance to finally try them out was here!

I opted to use a mild Italian sausage (hence, the 'kicked up' Scotch eggs) and seasoned breadcrumbs to coat, thinking the flavour would be excellent. Be daring & use hot Italian, if you prefer! I was right - they are like the regular Scotch eggs, only better. If you tend to get grey rings around your hard-boiled eggs, follow my recipe, you'll always get perfectly-done eggs with no rings.

Here's the recipe:

8 eggs
1 pkg (454 g) mild Italian sausage
1 egg, beaten with 1 TBSP milk
seasoned breadcrumbs, to coat (~ 1 cup)

Place the eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer. Fill with cold water, up to an inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil over high heat; once they come to a boil, removed from heat immediately, cover, and allow to sit for 12 to 17 minutes (12 for smaller eggs, up to 17 for extra-large eggs). Drain pot and rinse eggs with cold water until they remain cool. Note: to make an egg white congeal should an egg crack while cooking, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water prior to boiling.

Divide the sausage into 6 portions - I was lucky, the package of sausage I used came with 4 sausages, so I just halved them, squeezing the meat out of the casing. In either the palm of your hand or a cutting board, press out the meat into a small patty, making it as flat as you can. Place an egg in the center and carefully wrap/press the meat around the egg, making sure no egg white is peaking through. Roll in the egg wash, then roll in breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining eggs, then place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to allow the meat to set up and the crumb mixture to dry a bit.

Preheat oven to 400F. Baking on a parchment-lined sheet for 30 minutes, making sure meat is cooked through. Allow to cool, then serve. These are often served cold, making a great snack or a small lunch. Scotch eggs are eaten alone, or with a variety of sauces, often mustard-based.

If you'd like to try them with a sauce: mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3 TBSP of a fine-grained mustard, 2 TSP honey and 2 TSP lemon juice (or to taste). Or, just plain mustard will do the trick, as well.

As for a candidate for WinterShines, I've decided against it. I will make them for my family, but they are a bit too labour-intensive for what I would be able to charge for them. I am glad I finally tried them - they'll be making frequent appearances in our kitchen :)

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