If you’re committed to day-drinking, you have to find plausible excuses to do so. Fortunately, neighbors of ours are fans of all things Irish and are also big rugby enthusiasts. This culminates every February in weekend group parties for the Six Nations rugby series, with games that often kick off at 8 a.m. Central Time.
We used to go a neighborhood pub that offered bottomless mimosas for a mere $12 and crayons for the kids, allowing the adults to snuggle in on a snowy Saturday and watch the games. To be honest, I am not a huge sportsball person, but having grown up in football-crazed America, rugby is next level. It’s a beautiful ballet of orchestrated chaos. The scrums! The random tossing and kicking of the ball! And dear god, all the blood!
Eventually, though, the neighborhood hangout stopped showing rugby, and my friends decided to host the tournament every week at their house instead. This got my husband on board. Brian is not interested in purchasing chilaquiles at a bottomless mimosa brunch place; he is interested in feeding as many of his friends as possible, in the most interesting ways imaginable.
So he decided to start catering our rugby brunches, focusing on food from these particular six nations (his sausage roll breakfast with potatoes dauphinoise was a highlight). Last year for the final, he decided to go after Scotch eggs. Which, hilariously, are from England, apparently born in Yorkshire. But since both countries are still in the big six, they still count.
Whereas my contribution to this group meal would be an easy, make-ahead strata or something, I can’t even think of anything more labor-intensive than the Scotch egg. Neither can my husband. In case you are unfamiliar, the Scotch egg is a soft-boiled egg encased in sausage, then dredged in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. These take hours to make, involving, as Brian puts it, “a lot of peeling and bullshit… There’s a reason restaurants charge $12 for these things.”
Perhaps due to all that devoted labor, the Scotch egg boasts a definite wow factor. People are impressed. As in, “How in the world did you make that?” Brian thinks it’s because: “They’re classy.” And even by the time he brings them to our friends’ house to be deep-fried, the worst of the labor is behind us.
Brian says the trickiest part of the Scotch egg preparation is the boiling of the egg “because you don’t want it too done,” since it will continue cooking in the deep-frying. That’s why he steams the eggs after boiling for a few minutes. He also advises that you need “wet hands to get the sausage to stick,” around the egg, making sure that the meat is even, not lumpy, to make it easier to roll around. Then you dredge the whole thing in flour and egg wash before rolling in breadcrumbs.
Once those sausage balls are deep-fried, you can sprinkle with dried herbs and serve, and if you’re Brian, rake in the accolades and gear up for another fabulous Johnny Sexton play. Scotch eggs are not simple, but they’re definitely delicious. And as he’s made them a few more times since that first go-round, all the peeling and bullshit certainly seems to be worth it.
Recipe is modified from Chef John at Food Wishes.com, and Brian says “the technique is pretty much all Chef John.”
Put about 1/2-inch of water in a pot to a boil on high heat. Place eggs in water and reduce heat to medium high. Put lid on and steam eggs for exactly six minutes. Remove eggs and run under cold water until cool to the touch. Peel and set aside.
You’ll need about 1/2 cup of Italian sausage mince for each egg. Season the ground sausage with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and nutmeg, and mix thoroughly.
Take about 1/2 cup of the seasoned meat mixture and flatten it into a small circle about a 1/4-inch thick.
Place a peeled egg onto the circle and with moist hands, work the sausage around the egg, gradually pulling it up around it until the egg is surrounded. Put aside.
Roll the sausage-coated egg in flour, shaking off excess. Dip that in the beaten egg liquid, then coat with panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
Deep fry the eggs in hot oil (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. (Add a minute of fry time for eggs coming straight out of the fridge.) Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with dried parsley before eating.