Since 1738, when the fabled British department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented them as a traveler’s snack, the estimable, robust, and highly portable Scotch egg has been an integral part of a proper British picnic, and versions of varying quality are to be found in every British supermarket and gas station shop.
Simply a hard-boiled egg that has been encased in sausagemeat and a crisp breadcrumb coating and then deep-fried or baked, the success of a Scotch egg depends on the quality of the sausagemeat. Remove your favorite breakfast sausages from their skins, or use the recipe for spiced and herbed ground pork, given below. These eggs are baked in the oven.
16 ounces ground pork
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg (for egg wash)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I make mine by grinding stale white bread in the food processor. The crumbs freeze beautifully, and I always have a bag in the freezer door.)
2 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil, or cooking-oil spray
Fill a medium pan with water and bring to a rolling boil. Plenty of water ensures that the temperature doesn’t drop too much when the eggs are added, which helps prevent cracking. Warming the eggs in hot water or using room-temperature eggs helps too. Put some iced water in a bowl and set aside.
Add the eggs and boil for six minutes. Remove the eggs and plunge them immediately into the iced water. When cool, set aside.
Place the ground pork in the bowl of a food processor. Add the sage, thyme, mace, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and pulse a few times until the herbs and spices are thoroughly mixed. Divide the pork sausagemeat into four equal portions and press each one into a patty, as if you were making a hamburger.
Place the flour on a small plate. Whisk the egg-wash egg with a fork and pour it into a wide bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Peel the hard-boiled eggs then roll a peeled egg in flour and place it on a sausagemeat patty. With damp hands, carefully mold the sausagemeat around the egg until the egg is completely encased, taking care to join and smooth out any gaps in the sausagemeat. Repeat for all four eggs.
Take an egg-and-sausagemeat-ball and roll it in flour, then in egg wash, then in breadcrumbs, then in egg wash, then in breadcrumbs again, until none of the sausagemeat is visible, shaking off excess egg and breadcrumbs as you go.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the oil on a baking tray and roll each Scotch egg in oil until coated, or spray each Scotch egg thoroughly with cooking-oil spray. Place the oiled Scotch eggs on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until firm, crisp, and golden.