A British picnic classic, the scotch egg takes on a new identity as a vegetarian delight.
Best served with a fresh simple salad of green leaf and a chutney, this makes for tantalising snacking potential. With the summer days lengthening, picnics are in store – and what better food companion to take along with you.
There are many variations of the scotch egg across the UK, from the Manchester egg to the Worcester egg. They even bare resemblance to the Nargisi Kofta, a South Asian/Middle Eastern snack from all the way across the continents – the appeal is evidently seen worldwide. Yet to pick up popularity however, is a vegetarian version …
Most alternatives offer a healthy hybrid of falafel and scotch egg, using a lightly spiced chickpea filling to ensure an easily binding process. Instead, I decided to use the slightly trickier mushrooms – as they better match the deep, earthy depth and intensity that’s required for a good scotch egg.
The result is crispy, with a rich, savoury coating and buttery yolk; totally irresistible. Although I only made one, you can double or triple the amounts in this recipe to make as many scotch eggs as necessary.
Portobello & Spinach Scotch Eggs
Perfect crowd pleasing treat for garden picnics.
- 1 egg
- 1 Portobello chestnut mushroom
- 1 Shallot
- 2 Mini sweet peppers
- A handful of spinach
- Salt and pepper (to season)
For the breaded coating:
- Small amount of flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- A handful of breadcrumbs
How to boil an egg:
- On medium heat in a small saucepan, boil enough water to cover an egg. Adjust the size of the saucepan and water according to how many eggs you will be boiling.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the egg into the boiling water. Turn down the heat until it’s simmering. For a soft boiled runny egg yolk, cook for 4-7 minutes. For a hard boiled egg, cook for 10. This is a preference, and completely up to you.
- Remove the eggs from the water and immediately submerge them in a bowl of cold water.
- Remove the eggs from the water and very gently tap them against a surface to break the shell. Now, don’t apply pressure but using the palm of your hand, roll the egg gently across a surface to further crack the shell.
- Peel the egg.
Prepare the stuffing:
- On high heat, add a splash of oil to a small frying pan and allow the oil to heat.
- Peel and finely chop a shallot. Add to the pan, and stir gently with a wooden spoon until translucent in colour.
- Finely chop a portobello mushroom and the two peppers, making sure to de-seed them first. Add them also to the frying pan, continuing to stir.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper and add spinach to sauté and lightly cook.
- Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Spread clingfilm over your work surface and tip the mixture into the clingfilm, folding the other half over the top. Now using a rolling pin, roll to desired shape. Transfer to tray and chill in fridge for 30 mins.
- Remove from the fridge and unwrap the top layer of clingfilm. Place your boiled egg to the right side of the stuffing and gently use the clingfilm to roll the egg, encasing it in the stuffing mixture. Push the tops and bottoms close to the edge as well, wrap securely with clingfilm and twist either side tightly until it’s pulled into a ball.
- Return the fridge for another 30mins.
Coating and cooking the egg:
- While you’re waiting, put some stale bread (or fresh) into a processor and blast until you achieve fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, use ready made, if easier.
- Prepare one shallow bowl with lightly beaten egg, another with flour, and the last with breadcrumbs.
- Preheat your fryer to the highest temperature. Be careful when handling equipment with hot oil.
- While you are waiting for the fryer to heat, remove your egg from the fridge and gently unwrap it from the clingfilm. Immediately dip in egg, role in plenty of flour and coat with breadcrumbs. This is tricky, and you may have to squeeze it a bit to retain it’s shape and coating. I had a messy time, but I succeeded and you can too.
- As soon as the oil is hot enough, use a spoon to carefully lower your scotch egg into the oil and cook until golden brown, turning routinely to ensure even cooking.