For a while back during college, I worked the day shift as a cook in a British Pub (this one). It was a clap-trap Tudor knock-off with an overgrown and rusted double-decker bus squatting in the brush off to the side– kind of a cockney-redneck aesthetic, run by a pill-popping ex-pat from the Isles who permenantly looked as though she’d swallowed a live goldfish, all pop-eyed and tense. Every Fourth of July she’d hang a sign out front that read “Happy Birthday USA. Love, Mom.”

Inside, however, it was actually pretty nice. We catered mainly to the almost insignificant North Florida UK ex-pat crowd and the vast horde of idjit anglophiles that lurk around in any college town, loudly declaring their love of “proper” football and Bottington’s Cream Ale and rattling off silliness in appaling British accents.

If nothing else, the food was terrific, traditional British fare for those inclined to find such stuff agreeable. People always complain that British cuisine is way too bland. This isn’t necessarily the case: nothing is too bland when drowned in HP sauce and served with a side of Branston pickle. Bangers and Mash, Cornish pasties, steak and kidney pie (or shepherd’s pie for the less adventurous), beer battered fish and chips, even the ploughman’s lunch, all were served and relished by our regular crowd of drunken Englishmen and wannabe Americans.

The star item on our menu was the Scotch Egg, a wonderful orb of artery-clogging goodness that is certainly only for the strong of heart, both literally and figuratively. As the name implies, the Scotch Egg actually hails from Scotland. It’s traditionally served cold, but it’s also delicious piping hot, covered in a sheen of months-old fryer grease.

It is IMPRESSIVELY HORRIBLE for you– JUST AWE-INSPIRINGLY TERRIBLE. And yet, every now and again, when one wishes to indulge, the complexities of hard-cooked egg covered in pork sausage and deep fried can’t be beat!

The nice thing is, thanks to the miracle meat that is Gimme Lean fake sausage (one of the most passable substitutes for delicious ground pork sausage on the market), vegetarians can also enjoy the wonder that is the Scotch Egg! Substitute the Gimme Lean for the sausage and that’s all you need! Of course, eating a vegetarian Scotch Egg is kind of like smoking an ultralight cigarette. It’s got less tar, but it ain’t any less dangerous.

Here’s how to make it:

INGREDIENTS:

– Hardboiled eggs (however many you think your arteries can handle)

– Ground pork breakfast sausage (about 1/2 cup per egg). For fun, you can substitute any kind of sausage: Italian, Chorizo, etc. Has to be pork, though– beef won’t do the trick. Or, for the vegetarian version, switch the sausage with Gimme Lean.

– 2 cups Breadcrumbs, unseasoned.

– Your favorite cooking oil in deep-fryer quantity.

– A deep fryer or a deep pot in which you can completely submurge the eggs in the hot oil.

– Authentic Houses of Parliament Sauce for dipping. (For those not “in the know,” HP sauce is like a vegetarian version of A1 sauce, and can be found at any reputable vendor of things delicious.)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Hard-cook the eggs, and allow them to cool. Peel them and set them aside.

2. Mix the ground pork/Gimme Lean and about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs together.

3. Turn on your fryer/begin heating your oil. If you’re doing it on the stovetop, be very, very careful to heat the oil *slowly* so it doesn’t spatter– start on a low setting and gradually increase the heat. It takes longer, but it’s better than having hot grease hit you in the eye. It’s hot enough when you can flick a drop of water in and hear a sizzle.

4. Carefully coat each egg with a layer of the sausage/breadcrumb mixture, packing it tightly around the egg. No white should show through the sausage barrier, and it should be as even as possible. About 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness is all you want.

5. When the egg is coated, roll it in breadcrumbs and drop it into the hot oil.

6. Cook until done, about 8-10 minutes per egg depending on your oil temperature. The egg should be golden-brown and the sausage should be cooked all the way through. I sometimes toss an extra ball of sausage in with the eggs to pull out and test for done-ness before removing the suckers.

7. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to serve cold in the traditional fashion, or serve piping hot and greasy.

Scotch eggs MUST be served with HP sauce. If you absolutely can’t find HP sauce in your backwater berg, you can substitute A1 steak sauce for a slightly dissimilar flavor.

Now enjoy the Scotch eggs experience! Scotch eggs prove a Law that arises time and time again in certain fringe culinary circles: anything whatsoever tastes good when wrapped in pork sausage and deep-fried.

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