A limited edition, spiced up offering from Scotchtails
Pale yellow, crumbly yolk and squeakily rubbery egg white, covered in meat an alarming shade of grey and a dusting of breadcrumbs. Such is the image ‘scotch egg’ often brings to mind. Compare that with the bright, liquid yolk of every egg that comes off the Scotchtails stall, wrapped in succulent, high quality meat and encased in crisp panko breadcrumbs. What, we ask co-owner Dominic Hamdy, is the secret to their eye-opening revival of this retro snack?
“Quality ingredients are essential,” he answers firmly, and it’s a philosophy they adhere to strictly. “It’s a very simple product: an egg, spiced or flavoured meat, and breadcrumbs—which means there’s nowhere to hide.” The eggs are free range (naturally), from Clarence Court; the meat reared and butchered on Wicks Manor Farm in Essex—the animals, again, free range.
“If an egg is from a badly treated, caged hen, it’s not going to taste of much and the yolk will be really pale. Same for the meat—it’s just not going to have the same flavour if it’s from an unhappy animal,” Dom continues. “Which is why scotch eggs you often see in the shop aren’t very nice: they’re mass produced, and it shows.”
Nice and runny
Quite the opposite occurs at Scotchtails’ Westminster HQ, where everything—everything—is done by hand. “It’s the trick to making sure the yolks stay nice and runny: we boil the eggs then, after about six minutes and 45 seconds (depending on the size of the egg and the temperature at which it has been stored) we plunge them immediately into an ice bath so that they stop cooking. You can’t do that by machine.”
The eggs are then peeled by hand and wrapped in a generous layer of meat. For the merguez-style scotch egg, this means sausage meat mixed with “lovely spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, coriander seeds and some chilli powder to give it a bit of heat”, then rolled in panko breadcrumbs.
The scotch eggs are fried and the side options are prepped at the stall. Previously, the latter meant thickly cutting sweet potato for crisp yet squidgy fries, and/or a nest of rocket—now they’ve upped their salad game, having recently introduced a grain salad comprising bulgur wheat, quinoa, Market-bought parsley, mint, and pomegranate seeds, topped with a sprinkle of za’atar.
“I think you can be tempted to buy a scotch egg any day of the week, but it is essentially two sausages and an egg, so it’s quite substantial,” says Dom. “It means some people want a slightly lighter side, so a nice fresh salad rather than sweet potato fries fits the bill. And the fresh herbs and juicy pomegranate complement the spice of this sausage nicely.”
While the grain salad is a permanent feature, this special scotch egg is on the stall for two weeks only—so get (and eat) it while it’s hot.