During the holiday season, big parties, bigger meals, and show-stopping main courses usually get all the attention. We've partnered with Eggland's Best to shine a light on the less flashy moments and simpler dishes that are still just as important. Each one—including this finger-friendly scotch eggs recipe—is made more delicious and nutritious with EB eggs.
Entertaining during the holidays is a balancing act. I want to prepare the most delicious, festive foods while also maximizing time with my guests, which translates to doing as much prep and cooking ahead of time as possible. In addition to preparing the perfect playlist and ironing the napkins the night before my holiday cocktail party, I also opt to serve snacks that can be ready to go when guests arrive.
Ideally, these bites are completely indulgent and totally unexpected...which is why, this year, I’m cooking up Scotch eggs—or, rather, a variety of Scotch eggs. With endless variations, these crispy, savory bites are the perfect accompaniment to a pitcher of gin cocktails (which I also make in advance).
Scotch eggs are a British pub staple, based on the Indian/Pakistani dish nargisi kofta. A hard- (or soft-) boiled egg is wrapped in ground meat, then given a quick dip in an egg wash and a crunchy coating, before being deep fried until crispy. Once fried, the finished Scotch eggs can be kept warm in the oven—leaving your hands free to take guests’ coats and serve them a cocktail.
Because the ingredients all play nice with many flavors, Scotch eggs present an opportunity for you to unleash your creativity. Once you’ve nailed the basic steps, the flavor and ingredient combinations are endless. To make Scotch eggs without a recipe, follow these easy guidelines:
1. Boil the Perfect Egg
To cook your eggs, place them in a pot and cover with just enough water so that all eggs are submerged. Heat on high, uncovered, turning off the heat just before you get to a rolling boil. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and allow your eggs to sit in the water for six to 12 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water, and allow the eggs to cool for about five minutes before you peel them.
Variation: The big decision here is choosing between a hard cooked yolk, or one on the runny side. You can’t go wrong with either—it simply boils down to preference. For a jammy, soft yolk, leave the eggs in for six minutes; for a bright yellow, medium-soft yolk, leave them in for eight minutes; to get a fully hard-boiled egg, let your eggs sit for the full 12 minutes.
2. Choose your coatings
Here’s where the fun really begins. Once your eggs are peeled, you’re going to give them two coatings: sausage first, then a dusting of flour, a dip in beaten egg, and a roll in breading. (Want them to be extra crispy? Double the breading.) At this point, they can be put in the fridge until it’s time to fry.
Variation: This is the place to let your taste shine. Like your Scotch eggs spicy? Use chorizo or hot Italian sausage. More of a sweet tooth? Try chicken-apple or breakfast sausage. Plus, you can mix any fresh herbs into your sausage for more flavor and brightness.
Breadcrumbs are a natural choice for breading, but here, too, there are endless opportunities for variation on that front, too. Crushed cornflakes, panko, or seasoned stuffing mix are all ways to add your own spin.
3. Fry away
To cook the Scotch eggs, heat a few inches neutral oil (like vegetable oil) to 350°F and fry the sausage-covered, breaded eggs for about 5 minutes, just until the outsides are a deep brown and the sausage is cooked through. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. At this point, you can keep the Scotch eggs warm on a sheet pan in a 250°F oven, and they’ll be ready to serve whenever you are.
4. Serve ‘Em Up
Now is the time to break out your most festive toothpicks. Scotch eggs can be served whole, halved, quartered, or even sliced into rounds. Add a dipping sauce or a crisp and pickled accoutrement and call yourself entertainer of the year.
Once you know the basic rules for Scotch eggs, the flavor combinations are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started — and please feel free to share your own ideas with us in the comments!
Sweet and Crispy: Use breakfast sausage and bread with crushed Cornflakes. Serve with a mustard-mayo dipping sauce.
Italian-Style: Use sweet or spicy Italian sausage, mix oregano into the bread crumbs, and serve with marinara sauce.
Spanish-Inspired: Use Chorizo as the sausage, and Panko mixed with smoky paprika for the breading. Serve with a lemon-garlic aioli.
We're shining a light on some of the holiday season's simpler dishes, all made more delicious with EB eggs. Eggland's Best credits the extra vitamins and minerals in their eggs (like ten times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin D) to an all-vegetarian hen feed. When using EB eggs for this recipe, note that fresher eggs can be harder to peel! Since all EB eggs are packaged within 72 hours of being laid, you'll want to let them sit for about a week before hard boiling for the easiest peeling.