When you are in a recipe-creating mind zone, all sorts of ideas pop into your head. Some of them are frankly ridiculous, but some just feel right the minute yuo think of them, and you can’t work out why everyone doesn’t do them. This is on of the latter.
If you don’t have a food processor, replace the slices of bread with purchased breadcrumbs, but please, not those horrible orange crunchy ones – something vaguely natural looking. Japanese Panko crumbs are frightfully trendy, so maybe go for those.
I have given sausages as the meaty ingredient in this recipe, as they work really well, and the consistency is perfect for holding together and wrapping around the egg. If, however, you are of an adventurous bent, they also work beautifully if you replace the sausage meat with ground rose veal mixed with a little egg to vind.
Guidelines: if not using a proper deep fat fryer, be clever in your choice of pan size. Too big and you will need an awful lot of oil. Too small and you risk oil splashing about and catching light. Go for a medium pan and enough oil to float the eggs – a couple of inches should be plenty.
1 dozen quails’ eggs
500g really good quality sausages, skins removed
10g truffle shaved into slivers
1 hen’s egg
3 slices of bread or 2 English muffins (wheat-free work very well)
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying
Swirl of cream
Place the quails’ eggs into a saucepan and add enough boiling water to cover the eggs, plus their height again. Return to the boil and cook the quails’ eggs for a minute and a half*, then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water while you prepare the other ingredients. You need the eggs to be set enough to peel, but sufficiently softly boiled that they still have a little softness there once they’ve been deep-fried.
Beat the hen’s egg and place it into a small bowl or tea cup.
Whizz the bread into crumbs in a food processor and place in a dry frying pan over a low heat to gently toast. Watch like a hawk! You do not want the crumbs coloured, just dreid out slightly. Obviously, if you are using ready-made breadcrumbs, you can skip this step.
Place the breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl.
Peel quails’ eggs, making sure to rinse off any lingering fragments of shell.
Divide sausage into 12 equal balls.
For each quail’s egg, take a ball of sausage meat. Take two thirds of the ball and form it into a little cup. Place slivers of truffle inside the cup and pop an egg in. Mould the cup so that it hugs the egg, leaving a gap at the top. Tuck another sliver of truffle in the gap and top off with a hat made of the remaining third of the ball of sausage meat. Roll lightly between your hands and gently tease any cracks closed.
Dip the ball in the egg and roll it in the crumbs.
Heat the oil in a medium sized pan. If you have a sugar thermometer, use it. The oil should be 150°C/300°F.
Lower (DON’T drop! Splashin etc.) on single Scotch egg into the oil and fry for 2 minutes. This should be sufficient to cook the sausage meat through, if the oil is at the correct temperature. After 2 minutes, remove the egg from the oil and place on kitchen roll. Slice through and check that everything is cooked through as it should be. Assuming that it is, eat the egg. (That’s cook’s perks). You can eat these Scotch eggs hot (pretending that they’re all slightly over or under done, so nobody else gets any) or serve cold at picnics*. Totally and utterly posh, no?!
If you don’t have a sugar thermometer and you find that the meat is over or under cooked, adjust the heat up or down until you find that you get a perfect egg in 2 minutes. If the oil is too hot, the crust will burn before the meat is cooked through, and if too cool, the crust will not crisp properly.
Being still somthing of a coward, I never do more than 2 eggs at a time, and I set a timer at 2 minute intervals to ensure that I get it absolutely spot on each time. As you may have gathered, I’m usually very relaxed in my approach to cooking, but in this case I feel it is best to play safe.
*Please not, if serving cold the next day, for example at a picnic, you will need to cook the eggs through.
Find out more about “Discovering the Great British Truffle” by Marion Dean and Marion Pennington attrufflehuntersdogschool.com.