How to Make Perfect Oven-Baked Scotch Eggs
How to Make Perfect Oven-Baked Scotch Eggs
by Jacqueline Samaroo
The basic procedure for making Scotch eggs goes like this: wrap a hard-boiled egg in sausage meat; roll it in some bread crumbs; and deep fry it to a delicious golden brown. The problem is, however, those bread crumbs really soak up a lot of oil, making the Scotch egg a sadly unhealthy option for many.
So, what’s the solution? Bake them, of course!
Apart from baking instead of frying, there really isn’t any difference in how you prepare these two variations of Scotch eggs. Compared to fried Scotch eggs, however, the baked variety are as tasty and have that same pleasing crunch without the high fat content.
The differences arise in:
• how firm you want the yolk to be
• the type of meat you choose
• the outer coating you use
Let’s have a look at some popular variations to get you on your way to making your own perfect oven-baked Scotch eggs.
Boiling the Eggs
Most people make a Scotch egg that has a completely firm yolk in its center. No surprise there really as the recipe does traditionally call for a hard-boiled egg. What you want to avoid is over cooking your egg to the point where that unsightly gray-green ring forms around the yolk.
Slow cooking the eggs is a great way to hard boil them without overcooking. Here are some easy steps to follow:
• Use a pot with a cover that will fit snugly.
• Put cold eggs in the pot and cover them with cold water up to 1 inch past the eggs.
• Bring the uncovered pot to a boil then immediately remove it from the heat.
• Cover the pot and let the eggs sit for 8 to 10 minutes.
The longer they sit in the hot water the firmer the yolks will become. At 8 minutes you will most likely find that while the yolk is set, it is still creamy when you cut into it.
A good tip for boiling eggs for a Scotch egg dish is to let them cook a minute or two less than you normally would. That way, by the time you have baked them, the yolks will be just as you like them.
For lovers of a runny yolk, you can make a soft boiled egg, gently peel it and continue the Scotch egg process. Of course, knowing a few simple tricks for peeling a soft boiled egg will help!
Popular suggestions you can try include:
• add a tablespoon of vinegar to the cooking water
• add a half-teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water
• gently put a small crack in the bigger end of the egg before you boil it
• cool the egg in an ice-water bath as soon as it’s done cooking, crack the shell gently all-around and peel it under running water.
Seasoned sausage meat is by far the most popular option to use with most recipes specifying the use of pork sausages. Turkey sausages can be used if you not fan of pork or you simply want to try something different.
If the ground or minced sausage meat is not seasoned or it is seasoned but you wish to tweak the flavors a bit, then you can season it just the way you like with any combination of herbs and spices.
If you are a bacon lover (Mmm…bacon!) consider wrapping the boiled egg in sausage meat then wrapping that in strips of bacon. Skip the breading stage and pop the bacon-wrapped egg into the oven as is.
Also for bacon lovers is this Scotch egg variation that features chopped bacon, cheese and mashed potatoes as the replacement for the sausage meat.
Cheesy Potato and Bacon Scotch Eggs
Mash boiled potatoes to a lumpy consistency. Add chopped cooked bacon, finely chopped spring onions, grated cheese, chopped parsley and chopped jalapeño. Mix well adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to suit your taste. Wrap some of the mixture around a soft boiled egg and leave it in the fridge to set.
Once set, remove it from the fridge and cover it with beaten egg then breadcrumbs. The recipe then calls for frying your Scotch eggs but if you wish to give these yummy-sounding and awesome-eggs a try by baking instead, go right ahead!
A Vegetarian Option
While seasoned meat is the traditional way to go with Scotch eggs, ovo-vegetarians don’t need to miss out on this delightful treat. Here is a recipe idea that uses carrots instead of meat.
Spicy Tiffin Eggs
Boil and peel the eggs. Sauté onion in olive oil then add grated carrot and cook until soft. Stir in some curry paste and let it cook for a few minutes before stirring bread crumbs. Let it cool down then make it into a paste by adding one beaten egg and some seasoning.
Wrap each boiled egg with some of the carrot paste, roll it in finely chopped roasted cashew and bake.
Most recipes will call for the use of panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) to use as the final layer of your Scotch egg. Panko is actually bread flakes (not crumbs) and is thought to give the Scotch egg a crispier finish, plus panko does not absorb as much oil as regular breadcrumbs when you fry your Scotch eggs.
That said, many people are quite happy using regular breadcrumbs, with whether or not to season the breadcrumbs and which seasonings to use being personal choices. There are recipes that skip the breading stage altogether. Others, like the vegetarian Spicy Tiffin Eggs encrusted in chopped cashews and the bacon-wrapped Scotch eggs mentioned above, use a non-breadcrumb layer instead. Crushed cornflakes are also a crispy and common alternative.
Have a look as this chef prepares Scotch eggs with breadcrumbs and crushed cornflakes exteriors.
Have a Go!
There you have it – a look at delectable Scotch eggs made healthier by baking instead of the usual frying method. With so many tasty variations for you to try, give them a go and see how you like your oven-baked Scotch eggs best.
Links and Sources
- Darren Clunie