Monday, March 30, 2015

Scotch Eggs – This is an Easter Egg You Want in Your Basket

I’ve gotten so many requests for Scotch eggs over the years, I figured with the Easter holiday coming up, the timing was right to post this fried miracle of culinary engineering. In my version, I keep the egg soft, so when you bite in, you get that amazing contrast in texture between the molten yolk and the crispy sausage shell.

This is traditionally a picnic item, so the hard-boiled egg makes sense in that setting, but as far as serving it as a snack, or for a first course, maybe with a salad, I highly recommend the softer approach.

If you use the exact measurements below, the times given should get you pretty close to what you see here, but there are variables. In a carton of eggs, depending on the source, you’ll notice small, but significant size variations. You may want to test your times on the soft-boiled stage before proceeding.

Another factor is whether or not you chill these before frying. If you make them the day before, then I’d add a minute to the frying time. Keep in mind that the frying is to cook the sausage, and just heat the egg through, so you should cook the yolk to the doneness you want when the Scotch egg is cut open.

Your best bet is to make a few extra, and test your frying time before service. Trust me, you’ll enjoy this step. By the way, I have no idea if this works in the oven. I’m guessing it could, but I can’t help you out with any specifics. I really hope you give these amazing Scotch eggs a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 Scotch Eggs:
6 large eggs, right out of the fridge
*steam 6 minutes as shown for soft yolks

3.5 ounces of Italian sausage meat per egg (about 1/2 cup)
*I did 6, and used exactly 21 ounces of sausage.
pinch nutmeg
pinch cayenne
1/4 tsp mustard powder

white flour, 2 beaten eggs, and enough panko breadcrumbs to bread 6 eggs
(I don’t measure such things)

Fry at 350 F. for 5-6 minutes to keep a soft yolk center. Add another minute for Scotch eggs that have been thoroughly chilled before frying. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Demi-Glace: Part 2 – Half Again

I could’ve squeezed this stuff into the last video (Demi-Glace Part 1), but it was already too long, and I didn’t want to rush through what’s just as important information. Plus, I really wanted to show some more gelatinized sauce slapping. People really seem to enjoy that, maybe a little too much.

Once you go through all the trouble of making homemade demi-glace, you’ll want to make sure you portion and store it properly, so that it provides you with many months of stellar sauces. 

As seen in the video, you should get 16 nice blocks, each enough for about two servings, depending on the sauce. As amazing as this stuff is when used as a simple pan sauce, stay tuned for a few proper demi-based sauces at some point. I’ve always wanted to do a bordelaise sauce, and now we can. 

Besides using this for sauces, you can also throw a block into braised dishes like short ribs, or coq au vin, and you take something already pretty great, and make it truly memorable. I hope you give homemade demi-glace a try soon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Demi-Glace: Part 1 – Feel the Veal

If you saw the post from earlier today, you know this video has been delayed do to mysterious, and near catastrophic audio problems, but finally we have the first “demi” of the recipe, and I hope it was worth the wait.

This is my technique for veal demi-glace, and there’s not much to it. I’m going for a pure veal stock reduction, fortified with nothing more than mirepoix and tomato. I don’t do the classic roux-based “espagnole” sauce, which is traditionally mixed with veal stock and reduced by half.

Modern versions like this forgo the flour, and simply reduce the stock until the natural gelatin from the bones thickens things up. You get a much more intensely flavored sauce, with a wonderfully luxurious mouthfeel. I also usually make a pure version of the stock without the traditional “bouquet garni,” which is a very classic bundle of herbs and spices, usually wrapped and tied in a piece of leek.

It looks pretty, but I can add any or all of those flavors anytime I want, and we’re also always going to use this as a base for other sauces and applications, all of which bring their own herb and spice blends. Basically, like to keep my options open.

Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll show you what to do with this life-changing liquid, as well as how to portion and store it for many months of brown sauce nirvana. I hope you call your butcher and order some veal bones soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 3-4 quarts of Demi-Glace:
10 lbs veal bones, joints and marrow bones
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 onions, cut in eighths (I did without thinking, but you don’t have to peel the onions)
4 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
*10 quarts water

*While the stock simmers very, very gently for 18 hours, the level will drop a few inches in the pot, which is fine, but if it seems like the liquid level is getting low, add a few cups of water in.