Sunday, October 25, 2015

Baked Scotch Quail Eggs

A platter of Scotch Quail Eggs makes a convenient do-ahead football tailgate or fall brunch offering.

A Scotch Egg is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat.  A portable meal, they can be found throughout Europe as a fast lunch, snack or picnic food.  In the U.S. it is common to find them at English-themed pubs, served either hot with dipping sauces or at room temperature to accompany a beer.

Daylight Savings Time ends here next Saturday night. With the clocks being pushed back an hour, next Sunday is the best day of the year for a fall-back brunch.  Take that extra hour to enjoy a leisurely Sunday featuring graze Scotch Quail Eggs.

Scotch eggs are usually deep fried to cook the sausage but they can be baked.  Baking is far less messy but creates its own challenges.  We found that chicken eggs were a little too large to wrap and bake successfully.  The sausage meat slipped off the egg by the time the meat was cooked through and the amount of sausage needed for one egg was a larger snack than required.

Using quail eggs, about a quarter the size of a chicken egg, turned out to be the solution.  Their small size makes them easy to wrap and because they require less sausage, cook quickly enough to hold onto the inner hard boiled quail egg through the process.  I also prick a hole in the top, through the sausage layer, that lets steam escape and keeps the sausage sticking to the smooth egg.

Baked Scotch Quail Eggs
Yield: 8

8 quail eggs, hard boiled and peeled*
3/4 pound raw bulk sausage meat
2 cups bread crumbs

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F
  2. Cover a cutting board with wax or parchment paper to protect the board from raw meat. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with a thin layer of oil or spray oil.
  3. Divide sausage into eighths.  Take a portion of sausage and spread it in a thin circle on board.  Lay egg in the middle and wrap sausage up around sides and top of egg.  Use your hands to form into a round ball.  It will look like a large meatball, about 2 inches in diameter.  
  4. Repeat with remaining eggs and sausage.  
  5. Spread breadcrumbs in a wide soup bowl or pie pan.  Roll each ball in the bread crumbs and place in the baking pan.  
  6. Give the Scotch Quail Eggs a thin coat of oil.  This is easiest to do with a spray oil.
  7. Use a skewer or toothpick to open a small hole in the top of each Scotch Egg.  This will prevent the inside from building up steam that could cause the sausage to slip off the egg. 
  8. Bake at 375˚F for 30-35 minutes, until sausage is cooked through.  
  9. Place cooked eggs on a paper towel to drain excess oil.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.  Eat within 3 days.

Serving suggesitons:
Serve with a mustard-spiked mayonnaise dip.
Cut in half to add to an appetizer platter.  Their small size makes a manageable mouthful.
Slice Baked Scotch Quail Eggs to nestle inside a warm roll for breakfast.

*To hard boil quail eggs, place eggs in a medium pan and add enough water to cover by an inch.  Bring the water to a boil then remove from the heat and cover the pot for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, drain and add cold water to stop the cooking process.  Peel eggs immediately.  Their skins are very thin and will be easier to peel right away.  Be patient, they are more delicate than chicken eggs.  Do not be surprised by the greenish-blue color under their shells.  This is the inner membrane and commonly has a blueish tint. 

What else can we wrap in sausage? ¡Scotch Jalepeños!
Cream Cheese-Stuffed Jalepeños can be baked alongside Scotch Quail Eggs.  Allow these to cool completely so that the cream cheese is firm when sliced.  Or enjoy an oozing Scotch Jalepeño. 
Core seeds and membrane using a grapefruit knife. Tin foil allows you to bake the whole pepper without tearing.  Peel the blistered skin after baking at a high temperature, 400˚F, turning the pepper once or twice. 
Sausage sticks to a peeled jalepeño better than an unpeeled one.  An uncooked pepper will not cook further once wrapped in sausage.  Use a plastic sandwich bag to squirt cream cheese or any filling into the pepper.