if you’re seeing this photo back in the States, you’re probably thinking, GOOD LORD mei, what in god’s name are you eating over there? well, my dear friends, welcome to the wonderful world of the scotch egg. the traditional scotch egg, as shown above, is a hard-boiled egg removed from the shell, surrounded by minced sausage, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. if you’re still recoiling in horror from that photo, come over here and try one, because it’s really seriously delicious.
i should stop here and say that the traditional scotch egg is not always delicious and is quite often pretty nasty. as andy, the maker of this delicious scotch egg told me, they’re usually sold at service stations (gas stations) and overcooked, mushy, and full of scary meat. thank god someone is addressing this important issue and that someone is andy. as the chef/creator behind eat my pies, andy is bringing back the retro british delicacies with an impressive attention to ingredients, an innovative fusion of food cultures, and an emphasis on the thoughtful preparation of well-loved but often poorly manufactured classics. he also referred to a slow food-like philosophy on making simple food with good ingredients, an idea that he says lost traction during the war when fresh ingredients were scarce and led to the overprocessing of ingredients and glorification of fast food. i’m hoping to chat more about this with him when i’m not staring distractedly at a bountiful array of deep-fried things i can put in my mouth.
chris, eamon and i found andy during a gluttonous orgy of face-stuffing at the truly amazing sunday upmarket at the old truman brewery on brick lane. i have LOTS to say about this international food paradise, but you’ll just have to wait for that. the three of us started the afternoon with the goal of eating our way around the world, but ironically enough, we ended up eating the most historically local of foods at eat my pies, including the could-this-get-any-more-britishly named rare roast beef yorkshire pud bap. i’ll get to that after i talk about the scotch egg.
for an item with a lot of ingredients and multiple layers, it’s a surprisingly smooth bite. andy purposefully doesn’t overcook his eggs, which means a soft, very slightly runny and still orange center rather than the dry crumbly pale yellow yolk that’s found in typical scotch eggs (or so one might say if one typically ate scotch eggs). the egg is surrounded by a delicious and unexpectedly mild blend of pork mince, sage, worcestershire sauce, english mustard, salt, nutmeg, and a lot of pepper. this meaty baseball of protein is then deep-fried in a breadcrumb mixture of, in this case, brown wholemeal bread.
i say ‘in this case’ because andy serves so much more than the traditional version of the scotch egg. his modern fusion take on the british classic has resulted in the development of the exciting and enticing thai red curry, smoked haddock, mexican three bean, and chorizo scotch eggs. WHAAAT??!? i am SO excited to try all of them. and i’m psyched to have just found on andy’s website that he can be found at whitecross street market, where i just this morning promised to go and grab more tasty coffee from my new friend and world barista champion, gwilym. worlds colliding…so much awesomeness in london…need more room in stomach…
thai red curry and smoked haddock eggs, you are crazy but i bet you are also crazy delicious. speaking of crazy, wouldn’t it be crazy/awesome if you had a bird that laid scotch eggs? maybe it would be a whole menagerie of different birds of all shapes and sizes and colors, each of which laid another variety of scotch egg. you could wake up every morning to the cooing and crowing of your happy birds who have just laid a delicious breakfast snack for you! and no need to cook! interestingly enough, scotch eggs are commonly served cold, so you could eat them straight out of the nest. although it’s sort of gross to eat something that has just come out of a bird without washing it, and washing a scotch egg would be gross, and come to think of it, this whole idea is pretty gross. let’s move on.
did you notice that the thai red curry and the smoked haddock eggs are different colors? did you think they were laid by different birds? NO! it’s because andy makes a different breadcrumb mixture for each of his eggs. YES! so cool. such attention to detail.
i’ll finish up by talking about the superlatively english yorkshire pud bap that chris just HAD to buy. to translate: pud = pudding and bap = a sandwich roll which i have been told is usually white and often floury but in this case neither. whew. pudding, as we’ve discussed before, can mean all types of things here in the UK. yorkshire pudding is like a cross between a biscuit and a pancake and a popover, traditionally served with roasted meats and other dishes with gravy. it’s made by pouring pancake batter into hot oil which then rises to form a doughy pincushion. andy, being the wonder that he is, uses this eggy puffball to surround succulent slices of rare roast beef and mixed greens and then tops off the whole brilliant mess with this incredible homemade horseradish cream. creme fraiche, horseradish, white wine vinegar, mustard, nomnomnom.
chris, thanks for your unending patience with my food photography dithering, particularly when something seriously delicious is in hand. i wish that photo did it justice.
andy, so glad to have met you! i will see you soon. you, but more specifically, i will see your pork pies soon…i bet they are just full of awesome.