If you’ve ever eaten a Scotch egg, you’ll know that I do it no justice in this picture. A proper Scotch egg should have a soft runny center, and a perfectly browned, crisp sausage coating. Lighting for the image should be soft, not harsh with dark shadows.
But as usual, there’s a back-story. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll know that there are situations that demand that I post pictures of unattractive food (i.e. the oyster post). This is one of those instances.
I have an obsession with Scotch eggs, and will order them whenever I see them on a menu. If you haven’t tried them before, April Bloomfield makes an incredible version at The Breslin in New York. And if you’re not anywhere near The Breslin, you can always check out the recipe in her book “A Girl and her Pig”.
I love eggs of any shape or kind: turkey eggs, quail eggs, farmers’ market eggs with their deep yellow yolks. So you can imagine my joy when I walked into the butcher one morning and saw that he was carrying farm-fresh goose eggs the size of tennis balls.
I knew that I had to use them in a way that would show off their size. No omelets or quiches here – it was time to go big or go home. Which in my mind called for one of two recipes – Scotch eggs or deviled eggs.
Giant deviled eggs seemed to be a little too Dr. Seussish (Seussian?) for my taste. Not that giant eggs in sausage casing aren’t weird. But at least the Scotch eggs would look like two round meatloaves.
I bought my supplies, and off I went, thrilled for my kitchen adventure.
When I got home, I got to work prepping my ingredients. I boiled the eggs, cooled them, and encased them in 2 lbs. of freshly ground pork sausage. I then put them back in the fridge, each egg now the size of a softball.
Rodney called me later that day to let me know when he’d be home. And he asked his usual question: “what’s for dinner?”
This is one lucky guy by the way. In 2000 he started dating someone who kept her Cornflakes and Clorox in the same cupboard. Now almost 15 years later, “what’s for dinner?” is often answered with “grilled salmon and asparagus” or “smoked pork chops and black beans”. But sometimes he hears the following, not one of his favorites:
“It’s a surprise.”
After I got off the phone, I started prepping the eggs. I took them out of the fridge, heated the oil, seasoned the sausage exterior and dropped them into the pan.
They were gently sizzling away when he walked through the door.
“So what’s the surprise?”
“You won’t believe what I got at the butcher today.”
“No seriously, what are we eating?”
“I’m not kidding.”
He peered into the pan to see what looked like two giant bulls’ testicles, crisping up in the hot oil. The sausage meat was oozing fat; the pair looked like Ferdinand’s crown jewels, shipped overnight from his last run in Pamplona.
“I’m not eating them.”
“You’d better eat them, I spent a fortune on these. They’re supposed to be good for you – they’ve got a ton of iron. The butcher got them on special order.”
“Seriously, you thought I’d want to eat that?”
“Yeah, trust me on this one.”
“I’m going to Chipotle.”
The problem with having told my husband too many lies over the years is that he never knows when to trust me. They’ve been innocent lies, all of them – jokes, half-truths. Pranks really. But lies nonetheless, which erodes your credibility in a relationship.
At this point he was down the hall, elevator button pressed, heading back outside to buy himself a chicken burrito.
Realizing that our meal was on the line, I ran after him.
“They’re not testicles!”
“No seriously, I was only kidding. I swear on my life they’re not testicles.”
“I don’t trust you. It’s been a really long day, I’m not in the mood for this.”
“They’re eggs. Inside sausage. Sausage eggs. Together, you know, eggs rolled in sausage. Like breakfast for dinner.”
“I’ll show you the recipe.”
The recipe comment finally convinced him. I wish I’d tried it earlier because with all of the arguing, I burnt my sausage balls on the stove.
But if you read my post on bouncing back from a kitchen mistake, you’ll know that a little burnt exterior is nothing to me. Like a good soldier, I took them off the pan, scraped off the worst pieces, sliced them up, and served them with a side salad. Although not a dish I would have served to a diplomat, or even Snooki, it was passable for a quiet dinner at home.
Rodney agreed that they weren’t half bad, but was still miffed.
Which is why you shouldn’t pretend to serve your husband testicles for dinner. Lesson learned.
But Scotch eggs are a treat when done right, and I hope I haven’t ruined them for you. I’ve included April Bloomfield’s recipe below. Just keep an eye on them when they’re cooking – as we’ve all learned, they burn easily, and nobody wants to eat burnt meat for dinner. Testicles or not.
- 6 large eggs
- 2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 pound sausage, casings removed--I used a roll of sausage, you can use Italian sweet sausage if you like.
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1. Place 4 eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat; remove from heat and cover for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Peel eggs under running cold water and pat dry.
- 2. Using a mortar and pestle or the back of a knife, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until a paste forms. In a medium bowl, knead together the sausage, garlic paste and horseradish until just combined. Divide into 4 equal portions.
- 3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining 2 eggs. Place the flour and panko in separate bowls. Coat each hard-boiled egg in flour and then enclose each one completely in a sausage patty, molding the sausage into place. Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip them in the beaten eggs, letting the excess drip off, and roll them in the panko, coating well.
- 4. Fill a medium pot with 1/2-inch oil. Heat to 350 degrees, or until the oil is shimmering and bubbling slightly around the edges. Fry the eggs turning them occasionally until golden and cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt and serve while still warm.