This is a really interesting dish. As it has a meaty feel to it, the sweet and sour of the tomato jam makes a good complement. You can serve these hot straight away, or allow to cool, chill and serve with a salad, or take to work for lunch. Try omitting the sage and replacing with 1 tsp of good curry powder instead, for a very different result.
If you can’t get hold of duck’s eggs, use regular hen’s eggs, or even quail’s eggs. The latter make for a fiddlier dish to put together, but the results look amazing scattered on a little salad. And, of course, if you use different eggs, the cooking time will vary both for boiling the eggs and deep-frying the coated Scotch eggs.
For the Scotch eggs
4 duck’s eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
45g sunflower oil, plus more to deep-fry
4 medium hen’s eggs, lightly beaten
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tomato jam (see here), to serve
plain flour, to dust
1 egg, lightly beaten with a little milk
breadcrumbs, to coat
Bring enough water to the boil in a saucepan to cover the duck’s eggs. Using a spoon, carefully add the duck’s eggs and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them until completely cold, to prevent overcooking. Shake the eggs around the pan to break the shell, cover in cold water and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes – the water will get under the shell and make them easier to peel.
As you wait for the eggs to cool, get a bowl and add the onion, sage, sunflower oil, beaten eggs and the breadcrumbs, then season and give it a very good mix. It will seem wet but, as the breadcrumbs soak up the egg, it should become in consistency like a kind of clay (pottery skills not essential).
Peel the duck’s eggs, then dry them on kitchen paper. Take one-quarter of the onion mix and, with both hands, shape it around an egg. Try to make sure it is even and especially that none of the egg is exposed. Repeat to wrap all the Scotch eggs.
Wash your hands and dry them well. Put the flour for coating in a shallow dish, the egg and milk in another and the breadcrumbs in a third. Carefully roll a Scotch egg in the flour, shake off any excess, and then roll in the egg. Finally, carefully roll in the breadcrumbs. The trickiest thing is to make sure the eggs are coated, but not so much that there are lumps all over. Repeat to coat all the eggs.
Now you can either refrigerate the eggs and fry later, or fry immediately. To do this, bring sufficient sunflower oil to 180°C/350°F, then carefully add the eggs to the oil, preferably two at a time, but no more. Use a slotted spoon to turn them so they cook evenly. When they are golden brown (it will take about 4 minutes), remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat to cook the rest.
Serve immediately with the Tomato jam; maybe add a handful of your favourite salad. Or allow to cool, refrigerate and serve with leaves and Radishes with garlic milk dressing (see here).