Friday, May 22, 2015

Rosie Puts Her Northeast Carolina Spin On Scotch Eggs.

Las Vegas!
For some reason, I can't write that name without an exclamation point.

 Simply put, Vegas! is a sensory overload.

And I think it's one of the best places offering excellent dining experiences.

I love it when a restaurant inspires me to try and recreate a particular dish at home.  I'm always up for a challenge and I've collected quite a few wonderful meals that way.

Sometimes, just browsing through the menus at Las Vegas Hotels, I will find inspiration.
Such is the case today.

Here's what caught my eye: 
And the Scotch Egg...

And that's how Rosie ended up taking on Gordon Ramsay's Scotch Egg.

I have had a hate/love relationship with the Scotch Egg and when you have a hate/love relationship, there's always a story behind it.

It all started here:

While going through a family album, I found this yellowed envelope, addressed to me, from my father.  1971.
So many memories tumble out.  And a few tears.

It’s amazing what a simple stimulus elicits.
The fact that it leads me to food is my comforting homecoming and safe harbor.

I lived in London for 2 months during the summer of 1971.  I ate at the University cafeteria during that time.  There was always a tray of oval, dark brown blobs, the size of a large tennis ball.  They were served breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  This was the “Scotch Egg.”   The Scotch Egg was a rock-hard, over-boiled egg, encased in sausage, heavily battered, and deep-fried.  The egg itself had been cooked beyond recognition and edibility.  The sausage was likely from a goat.  It was a horrid concoction.  I detested the Scotch Egg.

I thought I’d put that Scotch Egg out of my head for good; but, no.  It raised its ugly head again, a few months ago, when I received an email featuring the Scotch Egg.  Just reading those two words made my stomach lurch a bit, but I opened up the email in spite of that.

 The first thing I see is the chef plating his Scotch Eggs and these eggs are nothing like the eggs I had in London.  These eggs look wonderfully, incredibly, edible. These were soft-boiled eggs with an oozy yolk, marinated in a Teriyaki-like sauce, encased in sausage, lightly fried to a lovely golden brown in panko breadcrumbs, and served on a bed of Napa cabbage salad.

I must give the Scotch Egg another chance.

 I did and it was fantastic.  Then I started thinking, which can be a scary thing, about the Scotch Egg.  What if I took the basic Scotch Egg idea and put my Northeastern North Carolina spin on it? And that, my friends, is how I ended up with a spring breakfast of Carolina Blue Eggs – Carolina Blue for our Blue Sky and Blue for our Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, our “beautiful swimmer.”

 Rosie’s Carolina Blue Eggs
Serves 6-8.
8 oz. freshly picked crab meat (Crabs caught in your own cage in your backyard canal in Colington Harbour.)
1 egg, beaten
1 heaping tsp minced celery
1 heaping tsp minced red onion
1 heaping tsp minced red bell pepper
1 heaping TB chopped parsley
1 TB mayonnaise
½ tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Gently combine all ingredients, being careful not to break up crab meat lumps.  Cover and refrigerate.

3 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
2 TB lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix cabbage with lemon juice.  Season to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.

4 eggs, cooked in boiling water for exactly 5 minutes and 15 seconds, then plunged immediately into an ice bath

1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Peanut oil, for frying

Mince the parsley and vegetables.

Do not overmix your crab mixture.
You don't want to break up the crab meat.
Egg in. Mix gently.

With a pushpin, prick a small hole in the large end of each egg to keep them from cracking while cooking.  Fill a medium sauce pan with water.  Bring to a boil.   Carefully transfer the eggs to the boiling water.  Cook for exactly 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

Immediately transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill completely.

Carefully peel the eggs.
Using ¼ of the crab mixture, pat it out in a thin layer on your hand.

 Place an egg in your crab-covered hand and gently encase the egg with the crab mixture.
 Eggs can be prepared ahead of time to this point.

Wrap each egg in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to fry.   At fry time, roll each egg in flour, dip in egg wash, then roll in the panko.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour 3 inches of peanut oil into a heavy-bottomed pot.  Heat over medium high until temperature reaches 350°.  Working in two batches, fry the eggs until they are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, turning to evenly brown.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Divide cabbage among 4 plates.  Cut each egg lengthwise and place on cabbage.  Drizzle with Hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise sauce is one of five mother sauces of French cuisine and it’s one of the more finicky. You need to baby sit it.  The final viscosity of your sauce is determined by how much fat (butter) is emulsified in and the degree to which the yolks are cooked.  The more the egg is cooked, the thicker the Hollandaise, but you also risk the chance of ending up with scrambled eggs instead of sauce.  The more butter whisked in, the more you risk curdling and having your sauce separate.

My first recipe for Hollandaise is for the classic French sauce, made using a double boiler.  My second Hollandaise recipe is made in a blender and it’s much more user friendly than the classic recipe.

Classic Hollandaise Sauce
2 egg yolks
1 TB lemon juice
½ stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pats
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Vigorously whisk the yolks and lemon juice together in a round-bottomed bowl until mixture thickens and increases in volume.  Hollandaise can be a finicky sauce, so if you’re inexperienced in making it, I’d recommend using a double boiler.  Place your bowl over a pot of simmering water.   You want to gently heat the eggs, not scramble them.  Constantly whisk the yolks over indirect heat until light colored, thickened, and creamy.  With the first wisp of steam, start adding the butter, one pat at a time, whisking until the fat is incorporated.  Keep whisking until your sauce is like thickened cream.  When you get more comfortable doing this, you can hover the pan over your heat source and not bother using the double boiler.

What can go wrong with hollandaise?  If the heat is too hot, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs and there’s no fixing this.  If you add too much butter or add the butter too fast, the emulsion will break down, causing the sauce to separate.  Not to worry.  You can fix this.  Simply whisk in an ice cube and the sauce becomes smooth once again.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce:
2 egg yolks
1 TB lemon juice
½ stick melted, unsalted butter
Cayenne pepper

Place half a stick of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan and heat over medium low until you start to get little brown specks in the butter.  Remove from heat.

Put the egg yolks and lemon juice in your blender and process for about 30 seconds.

Slowly pour in the browned butter while the blender is running, incorporating it into the yolks.  Leave the brown bits and the foamy milk solids in the pan.

That's Blender Hollandaise in the back.
Rosie's Carolina Blues are da bombe!


 You do know "David" was modeled after Mr. H., don't you?

Ya gotta love VEGAS!

For more recipes and walks through my garden, please visit with Rosie at  It'll be fun.  Not as fun as VEGAS!  But fun.


Anonymous said...

Was out in Vegas a month ago and got to eat at Thomas Keller' s Bouchon, Emeril' s Table 10, Bobby Flay' s Mesa, and Mario Batalli and Joe Bastianich' s B&B Burger and Beer. Your post reminds me of the good food I had while there. Can't wait to go back to Vegas, baby!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

I loved Mesa Grill. Haven't been to the others. Glad my post could take you back vicariously! Thanks for reading.