This week’s Pig Of The Week column from Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen takes a populist turn for Easter, and becomes Chick Of The Week.
Text And Photo By Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen
My family has always been big on eggs for Easter: boiled, fried, poached, truffled and even ‘shat’ eggs (much more delicate that the name indicates, these are soft-boiled eggs served in a creamy mustard sauce). In the spirit of this column, for my Easter recipe I turn to that quintessential British picnic and petrol stop snack – the Scotch egg.
The basics of this are undisputed; a boiled egg is trapped in minced pork meat, breaded and then deep fried. However, there is a debate about the origin of the egg. The British department store Fortnum & Mason has laid claim to the invention (known as bird’s nests to the more cultured foodie at the time) although the Oxford Companion on Food reckons it might have been inspired by a variation of a south Asian kofta.
For proper Scotch eggheads who really want to get in to the nitty gritty, this website has collated an impressive amount of sources on the origins and history behind the dish.
The most conventional way of making Scotch eggs is with a normal size hardboiled egg and breadcrumbs. However, I find this to be slightly too hefty and much prefer the miniature versions made with quail’s eggs which have runny yolks. Just as ordering a well-done steak is borderline sacrilegious, there is no greater shame than to hard boil an egg and miss out on that lovely gooey stuff in the centre that binds together the other ingredients. As for the breadcrumbs, I managed to track down some Japanese panko for this version. These flakey crumbs work really well for Scotch egg, but normal breadcrumbs will suffice.
The egg can be served on its own, alongside a salad or with a dipping sauce. I think the perfect accompaniment is a traditional English piccalilli relish, which has a crunch and that tounge-tickeling sweet-sour vinegary taste. For the Scotch egg below I used Delia’s piccalilli recipe.Print
Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen lives in Copenhagen where he writes about food and football for the Guardian newspaper. Prior to that he spent 10 years in London where he studied journalism, worked on the Guardian’s newsdesk and enjoyed a passionate love affair with British food culture (stop sniggering at the back) and the pub.