That great British picnic food...
I belong to a fantastic foodie group on Facebook called Australian Vegan Foodies. Every week we have a optional theme to encourage our members to get into the kitchen. This week we had a British theme. As an expat, this was right up my street. Growing up in England, Scotch eggs were a regular sight on buffet tables at family get togethers. I've recently been dabbling with making replica egg dishes using tofu as the white and a besan flour based paste for the yolk. So I could see no reason why a Scotch egg was beyond the realms of possibility. I'm not going to pretend that this isn't a time consuming, fiddly process, but the end result is a pretty cracking replica of the real thing. There are three parts to the process - the making of the "boiled egg", the sausage outer and then the breadcrumb crispy coating. The egg white is made from extra firm tofu and I used Linda McCartney's sausages as they have the most authentic taste and have the perfect consistency when blended to hold together for frying and oven baking. So onto the recipe and method. This will make four large Scotch eggs.
Ingredients for the egg
1 300g block extra firm tofu drained and patted dry
1 tbsp besan flour
1 to 2tbsp plant milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp nutritional yeast
large pinch of Indian black salt (this gives the eggy flavour to the yolk)
Ingredients for the sausage layer
6 Linda McCartney's sausages defrosted
1/2 an onion
1/2 tin white beans drained
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and Pepper
You will also need a couple of cups of breadcrumbs.
So first things first - the egg. Cut your block of tofu into four equal pieces. Now you have to get creative and carve an egg shape out of each piece. Start from the top and round of the end with a sharp knife. Turn it around and do the same to the other end. Then shave away the edges and corners until you have a rough egg shape. It doesn't need to be perfect. See pics.
Then cut in half down the middle of each egg and lay flat. Using a small sharp knife, cut out a hollow in each half. Place your halves in a steamer with the hollow upwards. Now we need to make up the yolk. Put your besan flour, nutritional yeast, turmeric and black salt into a small bowl. Add in 1tbsp of plant milk at first and stir to a paste. You will probably need to add more milk, so do it a little at a time. You're looking for a thick paste, but it still needs to be liquid enough to drop off the spoon. Gently fill each hollow of the egg with a spoon of yolk. Don't overfill. Now steam for approx 4 to 5 mins. Allow to cool slightly before sandwiching each egg together and placing into the fridge to allow them to set and seal.
While your eggs are chilling, we can move onto the sausage layer. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until everything is a smoothish consistency. Don't overwork it though. Put it in the fridge to cool for 10 minutes or so to chill with the eggs.
Now we're ready for assembly. Take a quarter of your sausage meat and flatten it out in the palm of your hand. Place an egg in the centre and gently ease up the sausage around the egg until it meets at the top. Flour your hands if it makes it easier. Roll in your breadcrumbs and set aside to rest.
Now we're ready to fry and bake. Preheat your oven to 200C. Heat a couple of inches depth of oil in a fry pan. To test if its ready, drop a few of the breadrumbs into the oil. If they sizzle instantly, you're good to go. Carefully place your eggs into the oil and fry for a few minutes until the bottom half starts to colour. Carefully turn them over and fry the other side. Remove and drain on kitchen paper then place on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on the colour. Allow to cool slightly and then serve. Great as part of a picnic, a cheeseboard or just a snack on the go.