There has been much experimentation chez Collier with scotch eggs in the past couple of years. A BBC Food recipe was my original source for smoked salmon scotch eggs, while a recent recipe by Thomasina Miers prompted me to come up with a vegetarian version of chorizo scotch eggs – I order the meat-free sausage mix and vegan chorizo from Amazon. Both can be made with normal hens’ eggs or with dinkier quails’ eggs, which take a while but make very pretty canapés. Simply replace the large eggs in the recipes below with a dozen (or more) quails’ eggs. Serve with a sharp mayonnaise, marie rose sauce, tartare sauce (recipes all here) or, in the case of the chorizo ones, piccalilli.
Smoked salmon scotch eggs
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 salmon fillets, boneless and skinless, about 240g
200g good quality smoked salmon
1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges to serve
½ small pack dill, chopped
½ small pack parsley, chopped
1 tbsp capers, chopped
50g plain flour
good pinch cayenne pepper
100g panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
1. Put 4 of the eggs in a large pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, simmer for 5½ minutes, then remove and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Once cool, gently tap all over on a work surface and peel carefully, so as to keep the eggs intact. If you’re using quails’ eggs, put straight into boiling water and simmer for 1 ½ minutes.
2 Blitz the salmon, smoked salmon, lemon zest and some seasoning together in a food processor to form a paste, then stir through the herbs and capers. Divide the mixture into four balls. Pat the eggs dry, then flatten a ball in the palm of your hand and tease it around one of the eggs until completely covered. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Set aside.
3. Set up your assembly line: put the flour in one bowl, stir in the cayenne pepper and season. Crack the remaining egg into another and whisk, then put the breadcrumbs in the final bowl. One by one, dip the Scotch eggs into the flour, egg and then the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate or tray.
4. Fill a heavy-bottomed pan two-thirds with oil and heat to 180C or until a piece of bread browns in 20 seconds. Working in batches, fry the Scotch eggs for 5 mins until deep golden, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and a little more cayenne. Serve with a sauce of your choice and lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Vegetarian chorizo scotch eggs
150g meat-free sausage mix (eg. Granose Lincolnshire)
200g vegan chorizo (eg. meatless Chilli Kabanos)
1 big handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 small bunch thyme, roughly chopped
20g finely grated parmesan
For the coating
50g plain flour, seasoned with salt, pepper and any spicing you fancy
2 eggs, beaten
100g panko or fine breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Lemon wedges and sauces to serve
1. Hydrate your meat-free sausage mix as directed on the packet. Remove the chorizo from its skin and blitz in a food processor to crumble it.
2. Put the eggs in a large pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, simmer for 5 ½ minutes, then remove and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Once cool, gently tap all over on a work surface and peel carefully, so as to keep the eggs intact. If you’re using quails’ eggs, put straight into boiling water and simmer for 1 ½ minutes.
3. Mix the sausage ‘meats’, herbs and parmesan in a bowl, scrunching it all together until sticky. Divide into six even-sized balls, then wet your hands and flatten one ball in your palms, making it as thin as you can without it falling apart. Gently shape it evenly around one peeled egg, moulding it until the egg is sealed all over. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, then set aside.
4. Set up your assembly line: seasoned flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Pour enough oil into a deep pan to come 5-6cm up the sides and heat to 160C-170C. Roll each egg in the seasoned flour, followed by the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
5. Once the oil is hot, fry the eggs three at a time for three to four minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden. Scoop out and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with the lemon wedges and a green salad, with piccalilli or tartare too.