I've been fascinated by the idea of Scotch eggs for a while now. Traditionally for Scotch eggs, hard-boiled or soft-boiled or even pickled eggs are encased in a sausage mixture, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried. Since I don't eat red meat, I'd never attempted to make them or even tasted one. Then, along came this lovely vegetarian version with an outer layer made with beets. They couldn't be more perfect. The beets give the outside a good contrasting color to the white and yellow of the egg inside. Just in time for Easter, I found these on Mess in the Kitchen the other day and headed straight to the kitchen. The beet mixture was actually first imagined as a veggie burger and then was used for coating Scotch eggs. I made just a couple of changes to the recipe so as to use what I had on hand, and I was beyond thrilled with the results. The mixture held together very well, and the outside fried to a crisp around the soft-boiled eggs. Not only do you get a tender soft-boiled egg surround by a crispy, tasty, fried coating, there's another bonus to making Scotch eggs. You know how fresh eggs can be difficult to peel after boiling? If there are any uneven surfaces on the eggs after they're peeled, you'll never see them once they're coated with the beet mixture. Everything about these eggs made me very happy.
I decided to go with soft-boiled rather than hard-boiled eggs thinking that the eggs would cook a little more in the hot oil causing the yolks to set, and that's exactly what happened. I used the smallest ones from the carton I had, but you can really use any size of eggs you'd like. I placed five eggs in a saucepan, covered them with water, added a pinch of salt, and brought the water to a boil. As soon as the water bubbled, I turned the heat to low, covered the pan, and let the eggs cook for eight minutes. I drained the eggs and peeled them while still warm, and they were fresh enough to still be difficult to peel but, delightfully, that didn't matter here. For the beet mixture, I peeled two medium beets and chopped them. The beets were placed in a food processor with a chopped leek, about three ounces of firm tofu that I squeezed a bit to remove some water, two chopped green onions, about three tablespoons of flaxseed meal, a quarter cup of toasted breadcrumbs, two peeled and chopped cloves of garlic, an egg, and salt and pepper. The mixture was processed until a paste developed. If the mixture is too dry, try adding a tablespoon or two of water, and if it's too wet add a little more breadcrumbs. The beet mixture was pressed around each egg, and I had extra which I formed into two veggie burgers for another day. Once the eggs were encased in the beet mixture, I rolled each one in some remaining breadcrumbs before frying. I fried them, two or three at a time, in about an inch of grape seed oil in a saucepan, turning from time to time, for about five minutes total.
Did I mention how much I enjoyed these eggs? I already want to make them again for a party and use quail eggs for a daintier portion. They'd look great cut in half and lined up on a serving tray. Or, I could imagine going the other direction and using duck eggs. One Scotch duck egg cut in half with some smoked salmon on top of each piece would make a lovely brunch meal. Obviously, I'll be making this recipe repeatedly.