The scotch egg – a classic dish made of a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and bread crumbs – is making a comeback, with restaurants and pubs both making the dish their own.
As Scottish as the Queen?
The truth is that no one knows who invented the scotch egg – it’s not even certain that they are Scottish! While the Oxford English Dictionary claims that the first reference to them is in an book from 1809, the London-based store Fortnum & Mason have long claimed that they invented them way back in 1738. It may even be the case that they are really a dish taken home by the British during their time as rulers of India, with a similar Mughal dish called “Narcissus’ meatballs” existing in the region.
There is also plenty of local variation in scotch eggs across the United Kingdom. Only a few years ago in Manchester, a new ‘Manchester Egg’ was invented, made of a pickled egg wrapped in rare-breed pork meat and black pudding, coated in panko breadcrumbs. Worcestershire, a region further to the south, has its own version, made of an egg pickled in the traditional regional sauce before being wrapped in sausage meat.
An age-old recipe
As with everything connected to this old snack, there is plenty of variation in how scotch eggs are made. But, at its core, the cooking process is pretty straightforward. First, some eggs are boiled. Then, sausage meat is rolled out into patties. These patties are then folded around the individual boiled eggs and moulded until sealed. Each egg is then rolled in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, before being deep fried, crisping up the breadcrumbs until they are deliciously crunchy.
Traditionally, scotch eggs were served warm with English gravy (a sort of thickened beef stock), but there are plenty of other options. If you like a little heat, they are great with English mustard, which cuts through the creamy egg yolk with its spice, but you can also eat them with chutney or even a slice of cheddar cheese.
You’ll still find the best in Scotland
If you’re in Scotland any time soon and really want to have the authentic Scotch egg experience, then pop into the local pub and have one with a pint of Scottish ale. They’ll probably serve it to you with a little mustard, and it’ll slip down easily with your pint.
Despite their long history, scotch eggs are having a renaissance, with restaurants, pubs and home cooks all trying their hand at this classic dish. Grab the mustard, a pint of ale, and take a bite .