Scotch Eggs: Baked vs. Fried.

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.

Category: Eggs, Lunchbox, Meat, Not Quite Right, Snacks 33 comments »

33 Responses to “Scotch Eggs: Baked vs. Fried.”

  1. Jonathan

    Excellent use of the word “plonk”. It really isn’t used enough. One of my guiding mantras in life is, “if in doubt fry it”. It seems this applies to Scotch eggs.

    Super post. I wish the nice man at Paganum would send me some lovely meat!

  2. Oliver Thring

    You should try the venison Scotch egg at the Harwood Arms. A work of wonder!

    Oliver Thrings last blog post..The Top 10 Meals of My Life

  3. Helen Yuet Ling Pang

    Yum! I want some Paganum meat delivered to me too! And I think Chris needs to post about his toad in the hole ASAP…

    Helen Yuet Ling Pangs last blog post..Goodman (steakhouse) – London, England (8.5/10)

  4. Peter G

    Oooh! I love this experiment! I agree with you about trying to make a low fat version of this…stick to the original!

    Peter Gs last blog post..Blackberry Jam

  5. Helen

    Jonathan – Thank you and yes, I think many things can be improved with a good frying. Not Mars Bars, though.
    Oliver – I shall!
    Helen – I will try to get him to guest post, so far he has been reluctant…
    Peter – Thank you! I don’t know what I was thinking but sometimes you just have to try..

  6. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    Ha Ha! I was just at a Renaissance festival yesterday and one of the booths was selling Scotch Eggs, and I had no idea what they were! Thanks for letting me know. They sound delicious – I mean how can you go wrong with sausage and eggs and breading?

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueens last blog post..January 30, 2009 – Finest Foodies Friday

  7. Merlotti

    Obviously the fried one – I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that there’s no point toning down a high fat snack, as all the enjoyment, and crunch in this case, disappears!

    Merlottis last blog post..Winter Warmers

  8. Chris W

    I love scotch eggs and they really are so easy to make, I didn’t bother with the cling film and it worked OK just moulding with your hands and not that messy! Need to be careful when Plonking things into hot oil! I am more of a Keith Floyd Plonking while cooking!

    Chris Ws last blog post..Jamie Saves our Bacon

  9. Leah

    (sheepish) I have always wondered what Scotch eggs were…

  10. Helen

    Jenn – didn’t you used to love in Scotland?!
    Merlotti – yep, you can’t deny the fry.
    Chris – Yes I am keith floyd too! Plenty of plonk while your plonking I reckon Floyd would say :)
    Leah – And now you know! Have a go at making one – you’ve got to love them.

  11. elra

    Oh my,
    That really look delicious, with the egg hidden inside, what a surprise.
    Cheers,
    Elra

    elras last blog post..Strawberry-Almond Salty Shortcake With Spinach-Basil Sauce

  12. Lizzie

    Ooooh these look tasty. I never thought of making scotch eggs, but I have a serious surplus of minced pork in my freezer so I might give it a go.

  13. Peter

    Helen, stick with the old skool version. It might be unhealthy but It’ll taste better…just eat less of it.

    Peters last blog post..If I Owned a Steakhouse in Greece

  14. Y

    Great post, Helen. I’m all for making (and eating) things all in the name of research. :D

    Ys last blog post..Daring Bakers Challenge : Tuiles

  15. Joel Brazil

    Yum those look so good, happy to have them either way.

    Joel Brazils last blog post..Amy B.’s Review of Scott’s – London (4/5)

  16. farida

    Great experiment. I think I would go with fried one:) Looks yummy to me:)

    faridas last blog post..Tuiles – January 2009 Daring Bakers

  17. Joie de vivre

    It is these pursuits of the perfect food that makes life worth living. :)

    Joie de vivres last blog post..Golden Chickpea and Polish Sausage Soup

  18. Niamh

    Great experiment and they look great! I would have to go with the golden one :-)

    Niamhs last blog post..January roundup!

  19. lunaticg

    Hi!
    I like them fried!
    but baked tasted better.
    See you around my friend.

    lunaticgs last blog post..Singapore Duit Ayam

  20. Joshua

    Some things just have to be fried, and by the looks of the side by side photos scotch eggs are in that list.

    They’re something I eat quite a few of when I need a snack but like others haven’t got around to making them. I had one once with cubes of black pudding in the sausagemeat that was a delight, and pretty easy to replicate I imagine.

    Joshuas last blog post..Pig Ear and Single Malt

  21. Gourmet Chick

    I always wondered how Scotch Eggs were made and now I know! Very entertaining post on such a classic British dish

    Gourmet Chicks last blog post..Salmon and Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes

  22. Kevin

    Those look good! I have been wanting to try scotch eggs.

    Kevins last blog post..Ham and Cheese Egg Casserole

  23. newman

    love your blog, am going to have a scotch egg taste session.
    also im not from there, but if your in bath you check out the lebanese buffet, quite fantastic,

    newman

    newmans last blog post..Week Thoughts (John Woo, Quantum Leap, car boot sales)

  24. James

    Now that’s one thing I haven’t tried making. Sausage rolls yes, but not scotch eggs. You’ve convinced me to try!

    Jamess last blog post..Shepherds pie

  25. Jean Parker

    How can you make several hundred Scotch eggs?
    These would all be needed on the same day but
    not at the same time.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  26. Helen

    Hi jean – I’m not really understanding your problem here – can you give me some more details please? If they’re not needed at the same time, why don’t you just do them in batches? I’m guessing you just need a lot of oil and a lot of help!

  27. Jean Parker

    I’m thinking I might need 1000 of them…..could prepare them on a Thurs & Fri to use on Sat at a
    fair. I’m looking for info on the best way to do this. For example after cooking say on Fri can they be reheated
    in any way…….microwave, grill ??? on Sat? Thanks to
    anyone for any help.

  28. Helen

    Hi, do you definitely want to serve them warm? I’ve bought scotch eggs at fairs and festivals before and they’ve always been cold. If you do want to serve them warm the I will have to put the thinking cap on!

  29. anne

    I have not made scotch eggs since school (think splitting and spitting) but sooo want to eat one right now!!

  30. Tony.

    Thank you for the Blog. My mother will make Scotch eggs for friends.
    She ‘swallow fry’s’ them….Well I have just made 8 Scotch eggs and put them into the oven, (340 for 40 mins) was called for. I put plenty of meat around them, but horror of horrors, when it came time to take them out of the oven, all of the meat had “split”, exposing the eggs. Still they tasted great, but not good for show at a party! What did I do wrong?

  31. Helen

    Hi Tony. Well basically your problem is that you can’t bake a scotch egg – it doesn’t taste as good anyway plus you need that immediate seal from the hot fat, which will keep all your meat together. It’s the baking that’s done it because the egg couldn’t hold itself together.

  32. Tony.

    Many thanks Helen, for getting back to me, and so quick. I will deep fry from now on.
    Tony.

  33. judester

    nice experiment – am gonna try quick frying to seal n then oven to cook thru


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