When I was a kid growing up in Britain, Scotch Eggs would often put in an appearance at picnics or on cold buffets, but, on this side of the pond, they seem less well known and are only infrequently encountered. Basically, the idea is that a boiled egg is wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried or baked. In my house, when I was young, my mother deep-fried them, as best as I recall, and she always hard-boiled the eggs first.
A while back, I had an opportunity to visit ‘The Clarendon Tavern’ in Ottawa’s Byward Market for the first time. I was able to sample a number of beers I had not had before, and also tried their version of Scotch eggs, which has been given a spicy twist with chorizo and other seasonings in the sausage wrap.
The specialty was served with some very nice bread and butter pickles, grainy mustard, and a salad of greens in a lovely dressing containing just a little lemon zest. There were also some finely shredded pickles in the greens and, while I could not identify them, I thought them a very nice addition. As for the egg itself, the coarse breadcrumb produced a very nice crust that was still nicely crisp and the chorizo sausage made a great change from the usual. There was also a slight ‘curry’ taste to the meat coating, and I could definitely detect cumin and coriander in the blend. Whatever it was, the result was a nice play on an old favorite and I would really like to experiment with the idea myself … maybe Quail eggs instead?
Discovering this particular product represents one of those bizarre coincidences that sometimes happens in life… One morning I was corresponding with a friend about pickling and I mentioned that I liked pickled eggs but had only had one sort here in Iqaluit. The brand I mentioned were brine pickled (with a little touch of vinegar, as I recall) and I only ever bought one jar. They were, I told my friend, very nicely cooked with the yolks well centered, and could be useful for masking devilled eggs, or the like, but they were pretty bland and could use have used something to spice them up a bit.
Well, that very afternoon, while shopping, I saw these ‘Bad Boys’, described as ‘Spicy Pickled Eggs’, and I had to buy them. The jar lists onions, mustard seeds and ‘spices’ on the label (one wonders what they think mustard seeds are?), but there are black peppercorns in the mix, as well as enough dried chili to turn the vinegar a pinkish hue. On initial inspection, it certainly sounded like these would be an improvement over the first variety…
Sadly, this was not the case. The pickling medium was very tasty, and did penetrate the eggs to some degree, but, unfortunately, they just weren’t well cooked. They were overdone, leaving the texture soft and not very pleasant, and it is damned difficult getting an egg out of the jar without breaking it. They were so friable, I pretty much destroyed too before finally fishing out the one you see in the above picture. Naturally, in that state they don’t even have the advantage of being used for anything involving presentation… I guess the only thing I can do is to have a go at pickling some eggs myself.
After trimming a bunch of gigantic scallops for another recipe, I had about the equivalent of two large scallops in little pieces and I decided to use them to make the above pictured little snack. I simply diced the pieces and did the same with a little green and red bell pepper, then stirred all this into two beaten eggs along with some salt and pepper and the ‘juice’ thrown off by the scallops.
After frying two small omelettes, I served them both drizzled with a little XO Sauce diluted with a little rice wine. It didn’t photograph up very prettily, I am afraid, but it sure was delicious ….
This particular dish is Asian in spirit but doesn’t belong to any specific cuisine. It calls for the long, slender types of eggplant common to Japanese, or south-east Asian kitchens rather than the fatter, deep purple eggplants more familiar in the west. It could easily be served as a side dish as part of a more complex meal, or eaten alone as a snack or even a simple breakfast… Continue reading “Eggs with Eggplant and Basil”
Quite a while ago, I posted a recipe for a very popular Chinese comfort food consisting of Eggs Stir-fried with Tomatoes. In that post, I noted that various additional ingredients are often added to give a little umami boost to the dish. My wife, for instance, adds Oyster Sauce which is very tasty, although it does give the ages a rather dark appearance. I eventually hit upon the idea of adding Korean fermented shrimp and we like that very much but the product is not easy to come by and our last batch, which my wife brought back from Korea, is now long gone.
I decided to revisit the basic theme using Conpoy (dried Scallop) as the umami additive and it worked very nicely. Instead of tomatoes (having none on hand) I used scallion, and I also added just a bit of chili paste for a little sparkle… Continue reading “Eggs with Scallion and Conpoy”
One of my earliest posts, almost two years ago, was for a very common, and simple, Chinese dish known as 蕃茄炒蛋, or ‘Tomatoes Stir-fry Egg’. Today’s post is for a variation in which tiny, salad-style shrimp replace the eggs. It could feature very nicely as part of a Chinese meal but is actually also very nice just as the egg component of a western-style breakfast… Continue reading “Shrimp and Egg Stir-fry”
Spaghetti Carbonara is a pasta classic and one of my favorites. After having one of the worst examples of it ever served to me at the Medusa Restaurant in Montreal recently, I decided that I would have a go at making it again.
A Carbonara is basically pasta with sautéed bacon to which eggs and cheese are added to make a rich sauce. This alone makes this dish something of a ‘heart attack special’ but heavy cream is also frequently added for a truly decadent deliciousness. Traditionally, either Italian pancetta or guanciale are used as the pork component but in American versions, regular bacon is often substituted. I have made it many times with regular smoked bacon and I actually prefer it to pancetta, but guanciale (or cured hog-jowls) is truly excellent. I have no chance of finding that locally at present but it struck me that uncured pork belly might go very well instead … Continue reading “Experiment: Spaghetti Carbonara with Pork Belly”
You won’t often come across tomatoes stir fried with eggs on a lot of Chinese restaurant menus (at least in the west) but this dish, in various permutations, is actually extremely popular in China. Indeed, it is one of the most common dishes on the menu in factories and schools across the Chinese Republic and many Chinese say that it is the first dish they ever learned to cook. It is, I suppose, something of a comfort food in that nation and it seems to be popular at any time of the day. Continue reading “Experiment: Tomatoes Stir-fry Eggs”