A Scotch egg you say? So Laddy, does it speak oddly, wear a kilt? Oh no, even better it’s all of breakfast in one handful. A cooked egg, wrapped in sausage, with a crumb coating of crispy golden perfection! Unlike haggis, you will come back for more when you make your own scotch egg.
Koftas! Those are the likely origin of the Scotch Egg we know today. Meatballs or meatloaves shaped around hard-boiled eggs and seasoned with the flavors common to the sub-continent of Asia. They then traveled back to the UK. One London department store claims to have them available as picnic food in 1738, although recipes first showed up in print in 1809, and are acknowledged as the first use of the name.
Served hot or cold, the basis is a breakfast style ground sausage is wrapped around a boiled egg that has been peeled. Then a crumb breading is added before frying or baking until browned, an addition that showed up in 1851. The egg can be soft, although hard is most common. A soft egg is best in the warm versions, hard is better when served cold, in our opinion.
Scotch Eggs in the States
You will most commonly encounter a Scotch egg on the menu in a gastropub establishment, especially UK themed. Although fun variations do pop up at a variety of restaurants, and bars near golf courses often include them because of the shared heritage from Scotland.
They are also very common fare at renaissance fairs and creative anachronism festivals. The big question is if they are using the most traditional technique of frying the scotch eggs in lard. It may sound questionable, but for frying meat products you can get some great flavors using lard. We use peanut oil which imparts very little flavor to food.
The flavor profile will tend toward a breakfast sausage, although you can literally use any flavor that you like. Pork base yields a more tender result, although lamb or beef based that has enough fat content work well too. Poultry based can be too lean, lending toward a chewier, denser layer.
If you are buying a stock breakfast sausage you may want to spice it up a bit more. Ours was a very flavorful sausage so it didn’t need help, and most have enough salt already. Black pepper is the first spice to help flavor it up, or a dash of cayenne. Sage is a regular sausage flavor, and of course garlic powder is always a good addition. Play around; thyme is a good add, ground fennel judiciously, allspice…just about anything you happen to like. Since the sausage layer is the layer that carries the most flavor, don’t hesitate to be bold with your additions.
Straight from fridge we put our eggs in a pot with cold water, brought it to a boil and let them simmer covered for 6 minutes to keep the center soft. They immediately went into a cold-water bath to stop the cooking process. For a hard center simmer for 10-12 minutes, or follow your favorite technique.
After cooking you will want the eggs, especially a softer version, fairly well chilled before trying to peel them. The shells tend to come off easier if done under cold running water.
When they are shelled pat them dry to make it easier to wrap the meat coating. Some recipes will call for a dusting of flour to make the sausage adhere better, but that can make an odd thin layer in between the egg and meat when cooked.
Serving Soctch Eggs
Most traditionally, scotch eggs are served with a mustard-based sauce. Ours was mayo, a bit of catsup, a dash of hot sauce and sweet hot mustard for a zesty blend. Of course, you will often see them with the seemingly ubiquitous ranch dressing we are all familiar with.
But you do you. A zippy horseradish mustard and some sweet gherkins will take you back to the flavors of the Raj. Use Italian sausage in your mix, a little parm in the bread crumbs and serve with spicy marinara for a completely different take, a Sicilian egg if you will. Again, your taste and imagination are the only limits.
Tips for the best Scotch Eggs
The sausage is easiest to shape when very cold. Flatten it to easily cover the egg and you can pinch a quick seam. Then press it gently in your cupped hands and the meat layer will even out just fine. A quick rest after the breading process will help the coating set and stick to the meat better when cooked.
These are best deep fried. It gives you the most consistent results. Although our home fryer would not quite submerge them in the oil, we turned them about half way through. A deep skillet with enough oil to cover them halfway will work.
Get your oil temp up to 375°F, with your equipment warmed up as well. Scotch eggs will drop the temperature noticeably, so starting a bit higher will help the end result be less greasy. Continue the cooking at 350-375°F.
Scotch Eggs Recipe
- Oil for frying
- 4 Eggs boiled and peeled
- 1 Pound Sausage
- ½ Cup Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Granulated garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- 1-2 Cups Unseasoned bread crumbs
- Separate sausage into four 4-ounce portions
- Flatten sausage to approximately 6 inches
- Wrap each egg in sausage, pinch seam, gently squeeze to even out layer
- Mix flour, salt, garlic and pepper in a bowl
- Whisk egg and water in a separate bowl
- Put bread crumbs in a flat dish or pan
- Roll each wrapped egg in flour mixture, then dip into egg wash
- Roll in bread crumbs, lightly pressing crumbs when fully coated
- Deep fry 7 minutes, until browned and sausage is cooked fully
- Cut in half, serve, and enjoy