Spring is upon us. The days are getting longer, the sun getting warmer and the garden is getting weedier by the day. But as the soil warms and the flowers poke their colorful heads up out of the ground, I start fielding questions from family and friends alike, “When are you going to make brunch?”
Some people plan their garden, and some plan their brunch menus. I already know that this year I will be growing green beans and okra, both of which will be pickled and served up in the brunch-time Bloody Marys and the pineapple sage and boxwood basil will find it’s way into other fun libations. But to eat, I wanted to try my hand at Scotch Eggs.
Scotch eggs are fun to make and, once you have the technique down, you can try all kinds of flavors. To kick off the Scotch Egg escapades, I tried out four difference outer layers: classic pork sausage, lamb merguez sausage, smoked salmon and a vegetarian option, artichoke and mushroom.
The trick, especially when going outside the classic sausage outer layer, is getting the consistency right. For example, most fresh Italian style sausage can be used directly cut out of it’s casings, but for merguez, which often has a drier texture, you may have to add just enough beaten egg so that it sticks together and binds to the egg and itself. For the smoked salmon “mixture” I ground smoked salmon trimmings in a food processor with egg, fresh ground pepper and some panko bread crumbs. When I had a “sausage-like” consistency, I stirred in some chopped spinach. For the vegetarian option, I gently sautéed artichoke hearts with chopped button mushrooms and then ground them up with enough egg and panko until the consistency was “sausage or stuffing-like.”
After coating each peeled, hard-boiled egg in it’s outer layer mixture, each egg was dipped in beaten egg, then rolled in panko bread crumbs and they were ready for the fryer. I kept the fryer on medium heat and fried each egg one at a time. Truth be told, they were pretty large so I didn’t want to jeopardize their shape or make my fryer over-flow. Just a couple minutes, gently turning the egg until they are cooked throughout, then gently scooped out to rest and cool on a bed of paper towels.
Golden brown and a perfect blend of the crispy panko coating and the tender inner egg, a perfect set of Scotch Eggs!
I’ll be taking a set of these eggs to Easter Brunch to share with friends. For those guests who don’t eat pork, there are the merguez, salmon or vegetarian eggs. But, we all know which Penelope the Pork Fairy’s favorite will be!