The scotch egg needs no introduction – their English origins (they were created by Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly in 1738), metropolitan modishness and comedy potential having already been thoroughly chewed over, digested, and the crumbs left out for the wasps on these pages. It’s got to the point where one can judge a pub’s level of culinary ambition by its attitude to scotch eggs.
With the jubilee in sight, they’ve been co-opted as a celebratory snack – presumably because us food writers played our coronation chicken card too early, and thus need something else to provide a patriotic counterpart to the usual modern British picnic fare of foccacia and Ottolenghi salads. The scotch egg, being robust, conveniently hand-sized, and utterly, ridiculously delicious, fits the bill nicely.
How times change. I still remember my surprise on encountering my first ever “proper” scotch egg at the age of 21 – having been put off the things by the rubbery tennis balls that passed as summer fare at school (with or without the greying reformed egg, depending on your relationship with the dinner lady in question), its shape perplexed me. The discovery of a real life egg inside seemed to elevate the thing to a piece of culinary cleverness of Heston-like proportions. (Thank goodness there’s little chance of a child growing up in such criminal ignorance these days – if you don’t fancy taking yours to the pub with you, it’s your parental duty to make them a batch at home instead.)
Meat: sausagemeat and mince