Monday, July 21, 2008

Gastropub Scotch Eggs

Whilst looking for recommended cookbooks, I fell upon a list compiled by Gourmet Magazine which included Trish Hilferty's Gastropub Classics. For any of you Brits out there I probably don't have to explain what a gastropub is but, for the rest of us, a gastropub is basically just a pub - laid back atmosphere and great beer - but with a semi-fine dining take on traditional pub grub. So here in Canada pub food revolves around nachos and deep-fried chicken wings, burgers, fries and all other sorts of stick-it-in-the-fryer foods. Not the healthiest stuff.

But a gastropub - from what I understand was the intention of the first gastropub founders - looks to make food a bit lighter. Give people something good to eat like pastas and delicious braised meats and beautiful fish dishes. The whole thing should not look fine dining though. It's still a pub. A place for the boys to have a pint. The fine dining aspect is subtle. Almost an afterthought as in "Holly crap! Is this really pub food?!"

Though I don't think Hilferty's recipe for scotch eggs falls under the category of fine dining take on traditional pub food, it's still a really good looking little construction. The idea is really basic. Boil eggs a bit below desired doneness (7 minutes for me on full boil). Once cooked and cooled, peel the eggs and dust them with flour. You then take sausage filling (she recommends pork and leek but I fell upon pork, pepper and fennel which was awesome) and wrap it around the flour dusted eggs. You then roll these little sausage coated eggs in flour, then in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs (those I had were highly flavoured so I used ground almonds instead). Drop the eggs in a deep fryer or in a pan generously full of hot oil and cook till golden. Make sure to not stick your finger in the oil. It leaves a nasty blister. My fried finger can attest to it.

I served it with grainy mustard and a good cup of French press coffee but I imagine almost anything would do. A hunk of Stilton with toast, milk and an apple. A pile of pan fries with fresh salsa. Or just as is. Apparently this is something you can lug around with you on a picnic. So cold or hot, it matters not.

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