- First of all, make sure your eggs are room temperature before cooking. This means you will get a nice even cook and the creamy runny yolk that is Scotch egg mecca.
- Place a large pan of water on to boil, enough to easily cover the eggs, put the oil in another large pan, do not fill it more than two thirds full, and put it on a medium heat to get hot. If you have a thermometer heat the oil to 170-180 deg C, if you don't heat it until a piece of bread browns gently within 30 seconds of being dropped into the oil.
- Now, once the water is boiling for your eggs it is time to decide how long to cook them for. For a standard medium hens egg 5 minutes is perfect. For a large hens egg 6 minutes. Duck eggs 6.5 minutes, turkey eggs 7.5 minutes. Lower the eggs into the pot with the slotted spoon, this prevents the shells being cracked by bashing on the pan. When the time is up remove the pan from the heat and drain off the water but leave the eggs in the pan. Place the pan under cold running water for 2 minutes. Turn off the water and leave to thoroughly cool for a further four or five minutes.
- Meanwhile put the sausage meat in a bowl and season with freshly ground black pepper, and the sage leaves shredded finely, or the dried thyme, whichever you are using. I don't like dried sage too much, it tastes musty to me. Now add in the Dijon mustard and get your nice clean hands in there and mix it all together. Take a small piece and fry it in the hot oil until done and test it for seasoning. If the mix needs more salt, pepper or mustard add it now. I don't usually add salt as the sausage meat itself will have been seasoned.
- Now peel the eggs. I find the best way is to crack the bottom part, not the point, then gently roll them on a surface to crack the rest of the shell. Now peel them under the water in the pan, it helps release the shell. Once peeled, dry on paper towel, it makes the sausage meat stick better.
- Divide the sausage meat into four equal sized balls. Using wet hands flatten the first ball across the palm of your hand. Place an egg in the centre and gently envelop the egg in the sausage meat. Be patient. Don't press too hard, treat it like a fragile object. No smushing the egg. Once you are happy that the egg is in the centre and evenly wrapped, place it to one side. Breathe. Have a slurp of tea/wine/beer move on to next egg. Once all four are done you could chill these for a while if you want to cook them later, obviously don't have the oil on heating if this is the case.
- Now place the flour on one plate, the breadcrumbs on another and crack the two remaining eggs into a bowl and whisk up with the milk. Season all three things with a little salt and pepper.
- Now roll the meaty coated egg through the flour, then dip in the egg and then straight for a roll in the breadcrumbs. Best to get a friend to help or do the wet bit with one hand and the dry with another, otherwise your battering your fingers too. Once all four are coated this way, give each one another bath in the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs again. This double coat will give you extra crunchy crunchy later.
- Check your oil is the right temperature and lower no more than two eggs at a time into the oil using the slotted spoon. I personally take the time to cook them individually. That taste is worth the wait. The eggs need to be cooked for at least six minutes, keep turning them around and moving then to prevent settling on the bottom which will give you a burnt bottom. No one wants that. Once you are happy with the level of tan on the breadcrumbs remove from the pan and place on scrunched up paper towels to drain. The scrunching helps them absorb more oil. If you want to check the sausage is done, place a small knife tip into the coating, being careful not to go through the egg and leave in place for ten seconds, remove and touch it to your lip, if it’s nice and warm or hot, bingo your meat is done! If not pop back in, but trust me, six minutes will do it.
- Serve with a salad or a beer. Or both. Take on a picnic. Or eat all to yourself. We won't tell.
- Try pairing this dish with a Golden Ale or Chardonnay.
- To make this dish dairy free replace the milk with water for mixing the egg.
- To make it vegetarian use a mushroom paté bound together with ricotta cheese to replace the sausage meat.
- Want a pescetarian scotch egg? Use smoked fish like mackerel bound with ricotta or cream cheese.
- You could also make this gluten free by substituting gram/rice or any gluten free flour for the plain flour and using coarse cornmeal in place of breadcrumbs in the coating. Experiment, the world really is your oyster, or scotch egg...