Is it just me, or does anyone else spend their time in the pub this way? Debating important and potentially life-changing conundrums such as – ‘pork or beef?’ (if you could only eat one for the rest of your life), ‘tomato ketchup or brown sauce?’ (in a bacon sandwich, naturally) and now this – the probability of turning out a decent, oven-baked scotch egg*. Instinct says it can’t be done, but then I started wondering – maybe we should be giving the baking a chance? Just how well could they really hold up against traditionally fried counterparts? There’s only one way to find out for a geek like me.
I used a recipe from Paganum’s food blog, fitting because they also supplied the meat (me gushing about them here) and followed the basic gist, swapping parsley for sage and employing a cheeky little clingfilm method for the assembly.
Lay out a meaty bed for your hard-boiled egg on a piece of clingfilm.
Plonk the egg in the middle.
Gather up the sides and squish the meat around the egg.
And, they are ready for a good egging and crumbing…
…like so. Except, FAIL #1: I didn’t have enough oil for deep frying and so had to shallow fry and cross my fingers instead. They looked great, an excellent golden colour, so I carefully spooned them out to let the excess oil drain off.
Then an excruciating wait (at least three minutes), before I finally gave in and cut one open. Only to find…raw sausagemeat – oops. I made the sausage layer too thick, leaving it still uncooked in places. Either that, or the shallow frying method failed me. Probably a bit of both (FAIL #2).
So, they go in the oven with the baked eggs anyway, which basically ruins the experiment. In the interests of all being right and good however, here’s the results.
As you can see, the oven baked egg looks anaemic in comparison to the fried and it doesn’t have the same calibre of ‘crust’. That said, those baked eggs are pretty damn crispy anyway (I turned them during cooking) – still immensely satisfying. And inside?
The baked is on the right in this picture and I can honestly say, no difference whatsoever within the crumb – both as perfectly juicy and delicious as the other. So all things considered, there ain’t much between them but you’re going to go for the fried, right? Right. Because the golden crunch is important dammit! All of which means that here we have yet another example of why you don’t bother making a low fat version of a high fat snack. It’s never going to be the same, you’re missing the point.
And so what advice can I actually pass on after all that fuss? Don’t eat three scotch eggs all to yourself, that’s what. Not all in the space of an hour anyway. The after effects are not desirable and include nausea, guilt and an extra inch on the waistline. On the upside, the taste and texture is out of this world – a totally different experience to those supermarket fakes – yucky egg mayonnaise inside grey, textureless flesh (God knows what that’s made from), and don’t forget the suspiciously hued crumb.
Next time, I’ll either stick with the frying or try misting the baked eggs with oil to brown them up more. I’ll also be having another bash at making home made salad cream to go with them, although I won’t be using this recipe, which needed so much adjustment on my part, it’s too complicated to pass on.
In the meantime, Chris has made some pork and apple ‘sausages’ with the leftover meat, which will later be transformed (I am told), into a toad in the hole, with onion gravy. Considering Chris’s gift for making perfect Yorkshire puddings, this is a very exciting prospect for my tummy – not to mention perfectly suited to the unusual winter weather!
* Yes I realise all three of those examples involve pork.