For years I have been fascinated by something on the menu called a “Scotch Egg,” typically offered at English Pub and Tavern types of restaurants. I finally tried one at The White Horse, America’s Oldest Tavern, in Newport, RI
This traditional English dish, no, it’s not originally from Scotland, is a tasty appetizer or meal in itself. What stupefied me is the fact that the yolk is still runny in the best of the best Scotch Eggs. So how do they do it? Since it’s an egg, surrounded by sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried?! Hmmm?!!
A bit about Scotch Eggs…
According to Wikipedia, there are no firm conclusions about the origins of Scotch eggs. As a hot dish, the first recorded mention is in an 1809 compilation of recipes. Maria Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery referred to it as a hot dinner dish with gravy (no breadcrumbs). Later in 1861, Isabella Beeton (another domestic goddess of the day) suggested adding a breadcrumb layer.
But as a cold dish, the London department store Fortnum & Mason claims invention in 1738, referring to it as a “traveller’s snack.” Some say Scotts Eggs got the nickname because they were a favorite snack of the Officers of the Scots Guards, who were stationed in Wellington in London.
Another source (Culinary Delights of Yorkshire) says they originated in the 19th century in Whitby, Yorkshire, England, and were originally covered in fish paste, not sausage meat.
And what about the name?
Culinary Delights of Yorkshire says they were named after William J Scott & Sons, a well known eatery that sold them.
Then there are the claims they they were called “scorch” eggs because they were cooked over an open flame — but those claims have been debunked because they were actually deep-fried in lard.
Another suggestion is they got their name from the culinary process called “scotching” — though there is no clear evidence of what the process really is. A final theory (at least final for me, because I stopped reading) is that they originated from the large egg trade from Scotland where eggs were dipped in lime power (possibly) known as “scotching.”
Phew, enough of the history lesson! It seems like, “who knows?”
All I know is that I loved them, even if they are 365 calories each! If you want to give Scotch eggs a try in the kitchen, here’s a recipe from Bon Appétit.
Isn’t it fun to learn and cook a yummy thang at the same time???
You are never too old to indulge in a new old dish . . .