I love scotch eggs but I don’t make them often enough. A crisp exterior, a well flavoured sausagemeat with an egg in the centre (runny yolk!) add up to give what I think is a lovely few bites.
I am not a fan of scotch eggs with a very firm yolk: they are often far too dry. And while good quality sausagemeat alone is great, I love extra flavours. So black pudding (a real must whenever I have a cooked breakfast!) with a runny egg yolk was called for.
Quail eggs can be frustrating little buggers to deal with!
Quail eggs are so delicate that they can break easily, especially given the light cooking they are given initially in order to have a runny enough yolk, while still being able to shape the scotch eggs.
To be honest, I make this using whatever eggs I have lying around, adjusting the cooking time according to the size of the egg.
Purists may well shriek in horror, but freezing the quail eggs comes to the rescue here: the barely cooked eggs can be frozen for about an hour in their shells; the shells then peel away more easily to give a firm enough egg that will stand up to being wrapped in the black pudding and sausagemeat. And no hint of the rubberyness you get from frozen eggs!
Cooking the eggs
Whenever I make these scotch eggs, I vary between simmering the eggs in water and using my sous-vide machine: I am not one for gadgets and gimmickery in the kitchen but I do love my sous-vide machine!
If simmering in water, cook them for 2 minutes before plunging in cold water to prevent them from cooking further.
Sous-vide gives such wonderful results in terms of texture and full control with all manner of food that it means you can pop the food in and let it do its thing while you get on with other things. If using a sous-vide machine, I found 30 mins at 63C gave me a beautifully runny yolk with a just-set white.
Recipe: scotch quail eggs with black pudding – makes 8
- 8 quail eggs
- about 200g best quality sausagemeat: I use the meat from sausages that take my fancy at the time
- about 100g black pudding, crumbled
- couple tablespoons freshly chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons English or grain mustard
- a little fine sea salt
- a generous grinding of black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- breadcrumbs: sourdough or panko are ideal, but any will do
(1) Cook the eggs for 2 minutes in summering water or 30 minutes in a sous-vide machine set to 63C. Plunge into cold water and when cool pop the eggs in the freezer in their shells for at least half an hour. Remove the shells carefully (you can pop the eggs back in the freezer until needed).
(2) Mix the sausagemeat, black pudding, chives, mustard and seasoning together in a bowl until well incorporated. Chill until needed.
(3) Take about a tablespoon of the sausagemeat mixture and flatten it out onto the palm of your hand or onto a sheet of clingfilm – a wet finger will help shape it. Pop a peeled quail egg in the centre and bring the sausagemeat up and around the egg, trying not to get air bubbles trapped. Make sure the egg is completely sealed in.
(4) Dip them in the egg and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. You might need to do this a second time to ensure a full covering. Chill until needed.
(5) Deep fry them for about 5 minutes at 160C, turning them part way through. Drain on kitchen paper.