Easter Sunday starter – haddock eggs

This weekend I was making a starter fo 8 adults. As it was Easter I wanted to make something different. My friends who were hosting had suggested a quails egg salad. So with this in mind I hit the cook books and the internet for good salads involving quails eggs, there were plenty. The ‘haddock scotch eggs’ caught my eye. I had seen them on a TV program a long while ago but I’d not had an opportunity to make them, until now.

I picked up my smoked haddock from the Oxford Covered Market, at Haymans Fisheries. My quail eggs took a little while to source as the butchers wasn’t open on the Friday, so I eventually found these in Tescos, hiding next to the larger eggs.

400g potatoes, cut into chunks
400g skinned smoked haddock, cut into large chunks
16 quail eggs
25g butter
2 tbsp milk
50g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
100g breadcrumbs
sunflower oil, for frying

Watercress dip
100g bag watercress
1 tbsp lemon juice
150ml mayonnaise

Once I had all my ingredients, it was time to get to work. I did the bulk of the work the night before. The creation of the scotch eggs was a fiddle, so it was certainly worth making these the evening before. I think it’s best to explain this in steps so to follow see below:

Step one.
Tip the potatoes into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil.
Then tip in the haddock and then the quail’s eggs into the same pan.
Cook the eggs for exactly 2 mins, then remove them and place them into a bowl of icy cold water.
Continue cooking the haddock until it flakes, and the potatoes until soft.
Drain the fish and potatoes well.
Now mash with the butter and milk until you have a thick mash. Set aside to cool.

Step two.
While your fish mash is cooling, you should start to peel the eggs. This is the fiddly part, so do this with some music on, or with someone to help.
Once the eggs have been peeled sit these on a plate
Set yourself up with the following: 1 plate with your flour, 1 bowl with your 2 beaten eggs, and another bowl with your breadcrumbs.
I didn’t expect there to be an issue with breadcrumbs but I certainly had a big issue. My first batch of breadcrumbs refused to crumb, so I wouldn’t recommend what I did first time around: Grabbing frozen bread out of the freezer, toasting it and then attempting to whizz this in the blender. BIG FAIL.
Round two of breadcrumb making: involved non frozen bread – MUCH BETTER!

Step three
When the fish and potato mixture is cool, pat out spoonfuls and mould them around the eggs so that they are completely encased. This sounded simple enough, but it really does involve you getting a bit messy!

Step four
Now for rolling the covered eggs: first the flour, then the beaten eggs and finally the breadcrumbs. I had expected these to look elegant and small, however they didn’t really resemble the original image that I had seen. I think practice is needed. Once all my eggs were ready I sat these in the fridge overnight, as suggested.

Step five
For the watercress mayonnaise, I blitzed the watercress with the lemon juice until finely chopped, then stirred through the mayonnaise, you can add half mayonnaise and half creme frais if you wanted a lighter option. This was done a day in advance. 

Step six
This was the part that was most nerve-wracking, it was about an hour before lunch and the next step involved the frying. Would they collapse? Would they burn? Eek! It would be too late if something went wrong now…
I heated a good layer of sunflower oil in a frying pan – I used a wok as this allowed for a better base for the hot oil, so that I could rotate the scotch eggs with my tongs. watch the eggs carefully until they are crisp on all sides, then sit them onto kitchen paper. I served this with green beans tomatoes, all for dipping into the watercress mayonnaise.

Per serving: 294 calories, Serves 6-8
Time to create: allow a couple of hours from start to finish on the day before. then you are just looking at a matter of minutes to fry the next day.


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