“And what could be more quintessential to [the great British picnic] than the humble scotch egg? Extraordinary things. In the past, they went from rich man’s caprice to Victorian savoury. Now they inhabit a strange hinterland between pubby ubiquity and zhooshed-up gastro cliche.”
Oliver Thring, The Guardian
“Boil hard five pullet’s eggs, and without removing the white, cover completely with a fine relishing forcemeat, in which, let scraped ham, bear a due proportion. Fry of a beautiful yellow brown, and serve with a good gravy in the dish.”
Maria Eliza Rundell, A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1808
Think of Scotch eggs as the British equivalent of fair food. Take one hard-boiled egg, wrap it in a hefty layer of sausage meat, and deep fry. Simple, filling, and satisfyingly salty. Their origins are hard to pinpoint, although luxury British department store Fortnum & Mason happily takes the credit. According to the store’s official archivist (yes, they have one), Scotch eggs were created in the early 18th century to meet the needs of travelers. The eggs fit easily into a bag or handkerchief, were easy to transport, and could be eaten cold with one hand. The name does remain a mystery, though, as one thing seems certain: Scotch eggs are not, in fact, from Scotland.
Traditionally, Scotch eggs are deep fried. However, I have baked them and find the flavor and texture equally, if not more, pleasing. Of course baking has the added benefit of being healthier and less messy than deep frying. Experiment with both preparations if you like, and see what you prefer. Just be sure to make extra, as they make excellent leftovers. Although they are lovely as is, I find that a dollop of hot English mustard gives it that added boost of deliciousness.
- 7 large eggs
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage meat
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup of plain flour
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425ºF
- Hard boil six of the eggs. Cool and carefully peel shells.
- Beat the remaining egg and pour onto a plate.
- Put flour and Panko breadcrumbs on separate plates.
- Divide the sausage meat into 6 equal pieces.
- Roll an egg in flour and then wrap a piece of sausage meat around the egg. Make sure you don't leave any gaps.
- Dip in egg and then the Panko bread crumbs.
- Repeat for each egg.
- Place eggs on a wire rack on a baking tray.
- Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes turning the eggs after 15 minutes.
- Eat eggs hot with oven fries and a salad for dinner or let cool, put in fridge and take on a picnic for lunch.
What is “sausage meat” which can wrap around an egg?
You can buy bulk sausage meat at most grocery stores. It is basically ground pork with seasoning. Or you can buy sausages and remove the meat from the casing. Or you can buy ground pork and add whatever seasonings you’d like!