Dig into the history of English picnicking, and two of the first things you encounter are Scotch eggs and pork
pies. We weren’t quite ready to tackle pork pies, so we went with the odd but intriguing Scotch eggs instead.
They’re pretty simple, so you could treat them as just one more thing to throw into the fryer, but why bother?
Their simplicity is exactly what allows you to use them as a springboard for your imagination, and we’re pretty
happy with the little variation we concocted here. ……………………………………………………..—Rachel
Put four small eggs* into a pot of cold salted water, bring it to a boil, then let the eggs simmer for 8 minutes.**
Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, plunge them into a bowl of ice water, remove the eggs,
lightly tap the ends of each egg to crack them, then peel & set aside.
Remove the casing from the sausage links, put the meat into a bowl, and work in the parsley, sage, scallions &
shredded white-cheddar cheese until thoroughly blended with the meat. Season with sea salt & a generous
amount of fresh-ground pepper.
Divide the ball of sausage meat into 4 equal sections & use your palm to press each section as flat as possible
into an oval about 5” high & 4” wide.
Dredge each egg in a plate of flour. (Some recipes call for seasoning the flour with sea salt & fresh-ground
pepper. That could be useful, but it’s probably not necessary if you’ve adequately seasoned the meat.)
Place an egg in the center of each oval of sausage meat and then wrap the meat until it completely covers
the egg. (Pull away any excess meat. While you want the eggs to be covered, you also want the layer to be
as thin as possible.)
Beat an egg in a bowl, dip each wrapped egg in the beaten egg, then cover each one completely with panko
breadcrumbs. (You want to cover the meat with breadcrumbs but, as with the meat layer, you also want to
make the layer as thin as possible, to avoid making the eggs too bulky and the flavor too bready.***)
Heat enough vegetable oil to cover the eggs until it’s hot enough to make a breadcrumb sizzle. (Medium
to just a touch more seems to work well.) Carefully place the eggs in the oil & fry them for about 8 minutes,
until they’re crispy & golden brown.*****
Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the oil then place them on a plate covered with paper towel
Serve cool. A dipping sauce is a nice side, but the stone-ground mustard favored by the British got a
consistent thumbs-down from our panel of taste-testers. It seems kind of lazy to just pour some ranch
dressing into a bowl. Something like a cucumber dill sauce seems like it might make a nice counterpoint—
both culinarily (if there is such a word) and culturally—but we didn’t get a chance to whip one up in
time for deadline. ……………………………………………………………………. —Chef Jean-Luc Bataille
* We learned the hard way that you want to use the smallest eggs you can. Otherwise you end up with
something the size of a bocci ball, which goes against the whole tradition of wrapping these up and
stuffing them in your pockets or bag for your picnic foray into the countryside.
Also, larger eggs can make the final product excessively eggy. You want to strike a flavor balance
between the breadcrumbs, sausage, and eggs.
** The English seem to prefer a slightly runny yolk, and having taken a couple stabs now at making
these, I can see merit in that idea. With the crunchiness of the breading & the flavor burst of the
seasoned meat, a soft yolk can become another part of the sensual experience of consuming the egg.
(Sorry about all the footnotes.)
*** Panko breadcrumbs really do the trick here because they help keep the eggs light & make the
final product nice & crispy. Regular breadcrumbs seem to need an excessive amount to cover the
eggs completely, resulting in something indistinguishable from a mass-market hush puppy or jalapeño
**** Yes, another footnote: Use your own judgment with this step because stoves vary so much. Scotch
eggs lose a lot of flavor once they get too brown, so you want to remove them once they’ve attained that
consistent golden color, while also making sure they’ve been fried for at least 6 minutes, to ensure the
sausage is properly cooked.