May Day is the most quintessential of English celebrations: it’s about the arrival of spring and the warmer weather, music and celebration, Morris Dancing and the May Pole. Although there are no traditional foods as such associated with May Day, the celebrations including feasting and picnicking.
For our May Day picnic celebrations I’m making Scotch Eggs. Scotch Eggs are synonymous with picnics and summer al fresco dining, so I thought I’d have a go at creating my own vegetarian version. I’m replacing the sausage meat with a mushroom pâté I make, adapted from a River Cottage recipe. It’s a really easy but successful recipe – I just add a few herbs to mine for added flavour and use a bit less cream cheese.
To make the mushroom pâté:
- 300g mushroom, chopped
- 150g cream cheese
- 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Few springs thyme
- Handful flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
First cook the mushrooms in butter, with the herbs and garlic for 10 minutes until all the water from the mushrooms has evaporated. Leave to cool then blend with the cream cheese.
For the Scotch Eggs:
- 4 hard-boiled eggs (I prefer mine with a hard centre so cook them for around 10 minutes. If you prefer a softer centre, pre-cook them for only a couple of minutes, as they will continue to cook when you deep fry them)
- Mushroom pâté
- Fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
Peel the eggs, pat dry with kitchen paper then roll in the flour.
Coat with the mushroom pâté then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge (or freezer if pushed for time) for around 20 minutes.
When chilled, roll the mushroom covered eggs in flour again, followed by the beaten egg, then lastly in the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry in sunflower or vegetable oil for approx 5 minutes until golden brown.
I prefer to chill my eggs and serve them cold (it also allows them to firm up slightly, making them easier to slice and eat).
As much as I HATE deep frying, there really is no other way. I attempted a quinoa version, which I then baked in the oven to crisp up the coating but the deep fried breadcrumb version was by far the more successful.