Scotch eggs, as we know them in the U.S., are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage then coated in breadcrumbs and either baked or deep-fried. The history of scotch eggs, like many foods dating back hundreds of years, is a cacophony of contradictions (yeah, I said it).
One of the most popular versions of the scotch egg genesis has them being created by the popular London department store Fortnum & Mason in the mid-1700s as a convenient travel food for local travelers. Another popular theory is that they were derived from an Indian dish called Nargisi Kofta, in which the boiled eggs were covered in minced meat and spices. The British soldiers occupying India brought the dish home with them where it became the dish we know today. Yet another version is that the dish originated in Yorkshire, where it was originally wrapped in fish paste and breaded, and named after the eatery where it began, William J Scott & Sons. If you crave the ichthyological version, you can still find it on the east coast of Yorkshire.
I developed a taste for British cuisine when I visited England and Scotland back in 2017. The food has a simple, hearty quality that screams comfort food. After visiting a local Irish pub last week I decided I wanted to try my own version.
Here I must issue an embarrassing disclaimer. At least embarrassing to a man that was born and bred in Kentucky. I suck at deep-frying. We recently purchased an air-fryer and it has become my savior (of sorts). So, I decided to give air-fryer scotch eggs a go. I found numerous recipes out there and while many of them looked tasty, most were way more complicated than what a simple British pub food should be. Borrowing from some of the simpler recipes I came up with my own version:
- A half dozen hard boiled eggs (hello Mr. InstantPot)
- 1 lb of sausage (I began with Tennessee Pride Sage Sausage)
- All purpose flour (as much as it takes)
- Panko bread crumbs (also as much as it takes)
- 2 eggs (NOT hard boiled)
- Begin by peeling and drying the eggs.
- Take 1/6 of the sausage and flatten it in your hand. Place the egg in the center then work the sausage around the egg. Roll the sausage/egg in your hand until you have a ball of sausage with an egg in the middle.
- Place the sausage covered eggs in a freezer for 15-30 minutes. This will make the sausage stiffer and easier to coat.
- Crack the raw eggs into a bowl and mix well. Then pour the flour and Panko into their own bowls.
- Roll each sausage covered egg in flour, dip into the egg mixture until coated, then roll in the Panko bread crumbs until completely coated.
- Preheat the air-fryer to 390°
- Remove basket and add eggs, spacing them so they don’t touch the sides or each other if possible.
- Spray the eggs with oil or cooking spray.
- Air-fry at 390° for 15 minutes (or until golden crispy), turning after 7 minutes.
Serve warm or cold with dipping sauces (mustard, ranch or blue cheese dressing, maple syrup… be creative). Scotch eggs make great appetizers, snacks, or additions to a lunch box. And, as middle daughter Maryn pointed out, it is a whole breakfast rolled into a ball.