It’s Day Two of my week-long celebration of eggs but, it’s also Super Bowl Sunday. So, here’s the dilemma I faced: how do you fit the wholesome, goodfoodness of eggs onto a menu that consists of the greasy, fatty jumble of nachos, chicken wings, corn dogs, meat-lovers pizza and beer?
And, no, egg batter doesn’t count. It’s too easy. Pickled eggs are passé, devilled eggs are too dainty and poached would be laughed out of the man cave. There had to be a way to give eggs their proper place among the heart-stopping, acid-reflux-inducing, mouth-watering array of North American sports bar cuisine (if I can use that word).
For the answer, I turned to my Scottish cousins, who seem the most able to turn every dietary virtue into a culinary vice (anybody for boiled-for-an-hour veg?). The Scots can even make bad food worse. Witness the deep-fried Mars bar.
But, perhaps I’m being too harsh. I’m not even sure that Scotch eggs are from Scotland. They could be just another ploy by the sourpuss English to give the Scots a bad name. After all, they’re still jealous because it was the Scots King James who wrote their Bible.
Anyway, I digress. Wherever they came from, what we call Scotch eggs are perfect sports-bar food and have nothing to be ashamed of next to a plate of deep-fried cheese sticks and a bottle of Bud – they’re even shaped like footballs. Anything wrapped in sausage and then breaded and deep-fried is sin food, even if you are rooting for the Saints.
But, unlike corn dogs or pretzels, these are not limited to the rec-room table. Half a Scotch egg next to a small green salad is right at home at an upscale brunch and would make an elegant appetizer (imagine tiny ones made with quail eggs.)
This recipe is adapted from one in Gourmet magazine from March 1991. I made my version with simple country sausage, flavoured with sage and thyme (with a little heat from cayenne), but you could make this with virtually any kind of sausage.
1 1/4 pounds sausage
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
Pinch of black pepper
4 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup or so all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
Canola oil for deep-frying the eggs
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 350 F
Mix the sage, thyme, cayenne and black pepper with the sausage and form into four flat patties.
Set up a breading station with separate bowls of all-purpose flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs
Cover each peeled, hard-boiled egg with sausage meat and shape with your fingers until sealed. One at a time, cover with flour and shake off excess. Dip in beaten egg and, again, shake off excess. Finally, cover in bread crumbs and deep fry two at a time for 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
Scotch eggs can be reheated in a warm oven.