So the first person I saw making scotch eggs with salmon instead of meat was the latest Masterchef- The Professionals winner, Ash Mair. I really like the idea of scotch eggs- crunchy fried stuff and boiled eggs- what's not to like? And as I don't eat meat, a pescatarian alternative seemed ideal.
I actually first tried making these scotch eggs over the Christmas holidays, using smoked salmon. They were alright but somehow a bit bland and unremarkable, and the cooking process left the salmon with a bit of an odd (and not entirely pleasant) texture. I guess the application of heat to smoked salmon is not a particularly good idea in general.
Anyway last weekend, I thought I'd give things another go but this time with some cooked regular salmon. I sort of made up my own recipe, based on the flavours I thought would go together, and second time round there was definitely an improvement. I still wouldn't say these were fantastic though. I think they need a stronger herb flavour, and probably a thicker salmon coating to stop the fish overcooking. Anyway, here's the recipe I came up with, which is currently based on a bit of trial and error.
Recipe (for 12 mini scotch eggs)
12 quails eggs
3 cooked skinless and boneless salmon fillets (around 250g)
Generous knob of butter
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tblsp mayonnaise
Around 1 tblsp plain flour
Around 3-4 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Sunflower oil for frying
Put the eggs into boiling water for around two minutes, and then put them straight into some cold water. Carefully peel the eggs and set to one side. Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently sweat the spring onions until they've soften, add the thyme and cook for a couple more minutes. Leave the onions to cool a bit and then flake the fish, add the mayo, and mix everything together to form a thick-ish paste. Have a little taste at this stage, and add salt and pepper to taste.
The next step is to assemble the scotch eggs. First roll the peeled eggs in the flour so that they have a light coating. This helps the fish mixture to stick to the eggs. Put about 2 tsps of the salmon in the palm of you hand and push it out so it's flattened. Place an egg in the centre and gently shape the salmon mixture around it. Do this until you've covered all the eggs, and then roll in breadcrumbs. I found that there was enough oil and moisture in the fish coating to allow the breadcrumbs to stick, but you could beat a whole egg and dip the scotch eggs in before rolling in the crumbs if you wanted a thicker coating.
I then shallow fried the scotch eggs in a couple of centimetres of fairly hot oil until they were browned. You could also deep fry these, but as they are quite small this seemed unnecessary.
So the end product was nice and crispy, with a soft-ish egg in the centre. However, I think these eggs could be better. As I've mentioned before, I probably didn't use enough salmon for these, as the eggs would have benefited from a thicker layer of fish around them. I definitely need to cut the spring onion finer, or only use the white part (the dark green bits in the pictures above are the green parts poking through the breadcrumb). Maybe next time I'll try using raw instead of cooked salmon too. And perhaps a stronger herb like dill. If you've tried any of these ideas for successfully making salmon scotch eggs, I'd be delighted to hear from you.