Swaddle practically anything in sausage and you’re golden in the flavor department; fry it, and you’ve got a bar-food mainstay. But there’s something about an egg—at once delicate and hardy, small but filling—that makes it the most delicious canvas for meat-and-breading artwork. The Scotch egg was born in London (or India, depending on who you ask) and today gets done up in all sorts of regalia (like with five-spice duck sausage and lime aioli at New York’s The Toucan & The Lion), but we like it in its purest form—precisely the way chef Keith Castro of Portland-based pub Thirsty Lion does. “You can pick them up everywhere in England; Scotch eggs are like their version of the Egg McMuffin,” says Castro. “We’ve modified them slightly: We don’t cook them all the way hard—our 9-minute boil time takes them just beyond the texture of a poached egg—and we use a fuller-flavored Italian sausage.” Trust us: There’s nothing McMuffin about it.
THIRSTY LION SCOTCH EGGS
3 dozen eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups flour
18 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed
3/4 pound Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
grainy mustard, for serving
• Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Carefully place 24 of the eggs into the boiling water; cook 9 minutes. Immediately remove eggs to a bowl of ice water. When completely cooled, peel the eggs.
• Crack the remaining 12 eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the mustard to make an egg wash. Place the flour, breadcrumbs and sausage into separate bowls, and line up the five bowls from left to right, as follows: boiled eggs, flour, sausage, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
• Roll one boiled egg in flour. In your hand, form a sausage patty about 1/4-inch thick and large enough to cover the egg, making sure to keep the thickness uniform. Place the floured egg in the center of the patty, and wrap the egg snugly in sausage, pinching the sausage to seal it and removing any excess meat.
• Dip the sausage-covered egg in the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs to coat. (Prep the eggs up to 2 days ahead; store coated eggs in a single layer in the refrigerator with extra breadcrumbs between them to keep the eggs dry and coated. Microwave refrigerated eggs 30 seconds before frying.)
• Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the coated eggs until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes each. Remove eggs to a paper towel.
• Slice each egg lengthwise and serve with the grainy mustard.