Synonymous with sunshine and picnics, you can't beat a scotch egg sitting well propped up on blanket, a bottle of something cold in your hand and a gentle breeze tickling your hair. A book would be good too. If it's a special picnic you might just have splashed out on an M&S or Waitrose version, or alternatively you scooped up half a dozen from your local butcher or the supermarket. But when was the last time you actually made one of these undisputed picnic champions yourself? In my case, never.
Two summers ago, the artisan scotch egg crossed my radar. More than one, but less than a handful, of purveyors of 'handmade' scotch eggs sprang up on the festival food circuit. We're a festival family, taking an annual summer jaunt to various events over the years (from The Big Chill and Somersault to Green Man and in the last few years Latitude). While the music, entertainment and camping experience are the reasons we festival go, we also take great pleasure in exploring the food on offer.
There is always the risk of ending up with a low grade, overpriced, paper box of garbage grub, which can spoil your day when you've spent much of it salivating in anticipation of a Thali box, a Goan fish curry, or fryer hot truffle fries. For us it was the duck scotch eggs served with fresh salad and balsamic dressing (a bargain at £4) that left us in festival food heaven.
Armed with organic sausage meat, free range eggs and some ends of bread, I decided to try my hand at Scotch egg making, which was easier than anticipated.
500g organic mutton sausage meat (you can use any good quality sausage meat but you may wish to incorporate additional ingredients (spring onions, herbs etc). I chose not to as I wanted to enjoy the taste of the mutton sausage meat).
7 free range eggs
125g sourdough breadcrumbs
50g plain flour
Oil for deep frying (or shallow frying if you don't have a deep fat fryer)
Freshly ground salt
Bring a pan of water to the boil, pop in 6 eggs and simmer for 8 minutes. I like my egg yolks slightly soft, but cook yours how you like them.
Cool your eggs quickly in cold water and then peel.
Blitz old ends of sourdough bread (or any bread you have) in a food processor until you have fine breadcrumbs. You can use panko breadcrumbs if you have them, but I prefer making my own. I often process the leftover ends of loaves as I find them in the bread bin and then freeze them ready for when next needed.
Place your sausage meat on a clean surface, cover with cling film and then roll out into a thin layer 3mm-4mm thick. Cut into 6 equal portions.
Roll your egg in the flour and then encase in the sausage meat trimming where necessary to retain the egg shape.
Beat your remaining egg in a bowl and scatter your breadcrumbs on a plate.
Roll your eggs in the flour, then into the beaten egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated. Repeat until you have 6 scotch eggs.
Refridgerate for an hour or so before coooking.
Heat the oil to 180˚C and fry for 8-12 minutes. (My deep fat fryer has been relegated to the loft, so I shallow fried our scotch eggs in extra virgin olive oil instead, turning frequently. This method worked equally well).
Drain on kitchen paper, cut in half, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!