A perfect Scotch Egg has a crisp golden shell, flavorful sausage and most importantly, a soft-boiled, runny-yolked egg. This just might be the ideal portable picnic snack – that we’d be happy to eat anywhere, even the dining table.
Every country and cuisine has its convenience food: the dish that’s so ubiquitous – it’s in the supermarket, the corner store, the petrol station – why would you ever bother making it yourself? For Britain, I think that food is the Scotch egg. A soft-boiled (or, occasionally, hard-boiled: let’s talk about that below) egg wrapped in layers of sausage meat and breadcrumbs and deep fried.
All the component parts sound like they should fit together beautifully, and indeed they do – if your recipe is good. Too often, something goes wrong – the egg is overcooked and ends up with a chalky or green-ringed yolk, the pork is insufficiently seasoned and bland, the crumb coat is soggy. It’s easy to throw up your hands and say, well, what can you do, it’s just a Scotch egg. And then we had a quail’s egg version at our favorite restaurant in Wales, Llys Meddyg, and here’s what happened to our minds.
Three kinds of leafy greens combine with mushrooms, garlic, leeks, mustard, and spices to form the base for a baked egg dish that’s a bit like an omelette turned inside out. It’s an ideal recipe for brunch, or really any meal of the day.
Sometimes we want to start the day with an omelette: maybe cook up some chopped leafy greens, sauté a few mushrooms until they’re golden, throw in a handful of cheese, and enclose the whole thing in an egg jacket. And sometimes, we want to flip the whole concept inside out and bake the eggs right on top of the other ingredients, because, you know, we’re mavericks like that.
It does take a little longer than the omelette method, and it requires turning on the oven. But really, since we’re fully cooking the greens and mushrooms either way, it’s the difference between a couple of minutes standing at the range and 20 minutes of unattended baking. You can also cook the creamed greens ahead, and bake the eggs when you’re ready for eat.
Swedish Cucumber with Dill is fresh, light and full of sweet, tart flavor. We added quick pickled red onions to ours for color and flavor. Make it alongside Swedish meatballs, or anytime you need a quick, delicious salad.
Cucumbers are one of our favorite vegetables and we make some form of quick pickles at least once a week, if not more. I love them Asian-style, with rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil, especially along with Vietnamese-style Baked Chicken or any roasted meat.
When we decided to make Swedish Meatballs, I knew we had to also make the traditional side dish, a sweet and sour quick-pickled Swedish cucumber salad flavored with dill. We added red onions, because they add great flavor and color to the dish. If onions are not your thing, feel free to leave them out and just serve the cucumbers on their own.
Real, hømemåde Swedish meatballs in a rich, cream gravy is as comforting as dinner gets. Serve it with boiled potatoes, lingonberry preserves and cucumber salad.
Have you ever dragged your a$$ all the way to Ikea supposedly because you desperately need a new Lillnaggen for your bathroom (but really it’s because you can’t live another day without a Swedish meatball). Do you crave meatballs the way a theater kid craves a spotlight? Do you power-walk straight past all those cozy-looking beds and then say, “Oh look, the cafe. Totes forgot they had one. Hmmm, it does happen to be meatballtime, er I mean lunchtime.”
(Five orders of meatballs later…) “What?”
Yeah, I’d have no idea about that (wipes nutmeg-scented gravy off lips with a Guldlök napkin).
Vietnamese-style baked chicken; Chicken thighs (or breasts) marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, herbs and lime juice and then oven-baked to create a dish infused with flavor and browned to perfection.
Baked marinated chicken is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. What’s that – just mix up some spices, soak chicken thighs in it for a half hour, and then stick it in the oven? Sign me up. The more interesting the flavors, the more it’s a miracle that such a straightforward process can result in a delicious dinner. And so it is with this Vietnamese-style baked chicken.
There’s a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts – possibly even the key ingredient – is the anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam. If you’ve never encountered it, you’ve got a treat ahead of you. This sauce is used as a dressing or dip (for example, as an accompaniment to spring rolls) but we actually use it all the time, even in non-Asian recipes, where we want to add a little salt and that distinctive fishy, savory note. Along with rice vinegar and sesame oil, it’s a great condiment to have as part of a simple Asian pantry.
Note: This recipe is part of our on-going series with Serious Eats. You can also find this recipe, and other great ones, on their site.