Saturday, June 13, 2009

Herb and lemon scotch eggs

Makes 8

Scotch eggs are picnics for me. Made in the morning, wrapped in foil and eaten while they still retain a bit of their heat replaces anything else I can imagine I'd be happier to lay out my tartan rug for. These can easily be made a couple of days ahead and then stored in the fridge, although they are clearly at their best fresh, not long cooked and eaten while they still have their crunch. Should they be cooked in advance, bring them back to room temperature an hour before serving, and eat with brown sauce or chutney preferably outdoors - on rug of your choice of course, doen't have to be tartan, although can't imagine a picnic without.

8 large eggs
450g sausagemeat or 8-10 good-quality sausages, split from their skins
Large handful of parsley, finely chopped
4 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp English mustard powder
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150g fine breadcrumbs
Oil, for frying

Begin by boiling the eggs in a pan of simmering water for 8 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and cool straight away under a cold tap. The trick here is to have an egg that hasn't totally cooked through to give a rock hard yolk - you need some give. Peel away the shells, then set aside.

Put the sausagemeat in a bowl, then add the parsley, sage, mustard powder, lemon zest, some seasoning and mix thoroughly together. Wet your hands, then envelope each egg with a layer of sausagemeat, about 5mm thick.

Now roll each egg in the flour then dip into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Dip them into the egg then the breadcrumbs once again to coat fully.

Heat a 5cm depth of oil in a saucepan until hot – to test it is ready for frying, a piece of bread should sizzle vigorously when dropped into the oil and turn golden and crisp in just less than 20 seconds.

Drop 2 scotch eggs into the oil at a time and fry for 6-8 minutes, turning them throughout to ensure they brown evenly. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Leave to cool while you fry the rest.

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