This is where it all began. It was the first dish we cooked on national TV and over a million people tuned in to see us do it. The humble scotch egg, as Colin Fassnidge put it, is definitely a dish we are proud of. We’d even go so far as to say it’s our signature.
What surprised us most of all was the little food revolution that happened after the scotch egg episode went to air. After 8 years in Australia and not one single glimpse of a scotch egg, all of a sudden, they were popping up on menus everywhere.
THE MASTER CLASS: The Scotch Egg
Prep and Cook Time: 2 1⁄2 hours Makes: 8
700g pork mince (70:30 meat to fat ratio)
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1 bunch of sage, leaves picked, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
sea salt flakes and freshly
ground black pepper
500g ice cubes, for ice-water bath
vegetable oil, for deep frying
100g plain flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
200g panko breadcrumbs, plus extra if needed
1. Combine the pork, fennel seeds, thyme, sage, garlic, egg yolk and mustard in a large bowl and season heavily with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients thoroughly and then divide into eight balls. If the mixture is too wet, add a few spoonfuls of panko breadcrumbs to bring it together.
2. Place each ball of mince between two sheets of cling film and roll out into a disc shape about 4mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Make a water bath by putting the ice into a large bowl of cold water.
4. Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil on high heat. As soon as the water comes to the boil, reduce the heat so the water is just simmering and cook for a further 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Immediately remove the eggs and put them into the iced water bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes then very carefully remove each egg from its shell.
5. Wrap each egg in a layer of mince, moulding the meat tightly around the egg and making sure there are no trapped air bubbles. Place each wrapped egg in a piece of cling film, twist to tighten and evenly shape the mince around the egg. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
7. Line up three shallow bowls from left to right. Fill the bowl on the left with the flour, season with salt and pepper. Place the beaten egg in the middle bowl and the breadcrumbs in the bowl on the right.
8. Take each pork-wrapped egg and, from left to right, dip in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Repeat dipping the eggs in the egg and breadcrumbs to give a double coating.
9. Heat the vegetable oil to 180°C in a deep fryer or large saucepan. Deep fry the eggs in batches for 3–4 minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, season with salt and place on a wire rack. Place the rack in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately if you want to ensure the yolk of the egg is perfectly runny. Scotch eggs can also be enjoyed cold. Either way, they go perfectly with a few spoonfuls of our piccalilli.
WILL What’s all this 70:30 business when it comes to the pork? Isn’t mince just mince?
STEVE Good spot, mate! I wish all mince was good mince with the right amount of fat but sadly that’s not the case these days. Basically, for me, 70 per cent meat and 30 per cent fat is the perfect ratio. I like to go to the butcher to get this. The fat adds flavour to the meat as it cooks and prevents the meat from drying out. For me, fat in meat is critical and you can really tell when it’s not there. In this recipe, having moist juicy meat to go with the crunch from the breadcrumb coating is what it’s all about.