It’s British Egg Week, so tell us, do you like them scrambled, fried, poached or hard-boiled?
The beauty of eggs is that they are ultimate convenience food, packed with nutrition (18 different vitamins and minerals are in one egg) and massively versatile.
Aside from being able to make so many things with them, eggs bind mixtures together, as well as enriching the flavour and beaten egg whites provide volume by trapping air.
Do you know that you can tell how fresh an egg is by dropping it in a glass of water? A fresh egg will drop to the bottom of the glass and stay there. A slightly older (but still safe to eat) egg will hover in the middle, while a stale egg will float on the surface – a sure sign that it should be thrown away. Once open, a very fresh egg will have a plump yolk that stands proud from the white, and the white itself will have two layers, the one that surrounds the yolk being the higher of the two.
So, what should you cook? We are a big fan of the poached egg. To make a perfect poached egg, boil a pan of water and put a few drops of vinegar in the pan. Then, just prior to putting the egg in the pan (slowly does it!) swirl the water around the pan. Once in, leave for three minutes if you like your yolk runny (and who doesn’t?) and slightly longer if you don’t.
To serve, why not try with some grilled asparagus, if in season, the two work very well together. Or toast some thick white bread, slather it with butter and let the lovely egg yolk ooze out. Perfect!!
Another favourite of ours is the Scotch egg. The challenge with a Scotch egg is making sure the sausage meat is cooked while the yolk is still runny in the centre. One of the best Scotch eggs we have tried was at Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head pub in Bray, where they are served as snacks. If you go there be warned though, it’s hard to stick to just one!
Here are some British egg week recipes – and Heston’s recipe for Scotch eggs.
10 medium eggs
450g good-quality sausages, skins removed
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cornflour
45 g French mustard
salt and black pepper
50 ml full-cream milk
125 g breadcrumbs (see note)
groundnut oil, for deep-frying
Put 8 of the eggs into a pan in which they fit in a single layer. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 3 cm and cover with a lid then place the pan over a high heat.
Once the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 3 minutes. In the meantime, fill a bowl with ice and cold water and after the 3 minutes, transfer the eggs to the iced water. Leave to cool for 10–15 minutes.
Place the sausage meat in a food processor with the smoked paprika, cornflour, mustard, and a splash of cold water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and blitz together. Divide into eight balls, approximately 55 g per portion.
Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the shells using a teaspoon.
Flatten each portion of sausage meat between two sheets of plastic wrap into a circle, then remove the top layer of plastic. Place an egg in the centre of each sausage meat circle. Wrap the sausage meat around the egg, by bringing all of the edges together and twist the top of the plastic. Press the edges to seal but don’t press too hard. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, put some plain flour into a small bowl and season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Beat the remaining eggs in a second small bowl and stir in the milk. Put the breadcrumbs into a third bowl. Roll each coated egg in the flour, gently tapping off any excess, then dip it in the beaten egg. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumbs, making sure that all sides are coated. Place the eggs in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. Heat a deep-fat fryer to 190ºC or place a deep saucepan of oil over a high heat until it reaches this temperature.
Fry the Scotch eggs two at a time for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack over a baking tray. When all the eggs have been fried, place the tray in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately while the yolks are still runny.