Scotch eggs are perfect picnic food, with everything encased in one neat little transportable package. The filling for these is inspired by a classic dumpling filling. Make them in advance, ready to be fried the day before the picnic.
7 large eggs
4 tbsp sesame seeds
200g raw king prawns
300g unsmoked lardons
4 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (25g net weight)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
50g panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp plain flour
1½ litres vegetable oil, to fry
For the dipping sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp chilli flakes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then, using a slotted spoon, carefully lower in six of the eggs and cook for seven minutes exactly (if you prefer firmer yolks, give them a minute or two longer). Lift out the eggs and put them in a bowl placed under cold running water to stop them cooking further. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off and discard the shells, leaving the eggs intact – a good trick to getting the shells off without damaging the eggs is to crack them gently all over, then put them back in the bowl of cold water: the water will get in between the shell and the membrane, making them easier to peel.
1. In a small saucepan, toast a tablespoon of the sesame seeds, then transfer to a food processor. Add the prawns, lardons, spring onion, ginger, garlic, soy, rice vinegar and sesame oil, and pulse until well combined.
2. With wet hands, take about 90g of the prawn mix and flatten it into a thin patty in the palm of your hand. Place a peeled egg in the centre of the patty and gently work the prawn mixture around the egg, pinching and smoothing it as you go, until the egg is fully enclosed. Repeat with the remaining prawn mixture and boiled eggs, then refrigerate the wrapped eggs for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the remaining sesame seeds and panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Crack the last egg into a second bowl, and beat. Put the flour in a third bowl.
4. Take one wrapped egg, gently roll it in the flour, then shake off any excess. Roll it in the beaten egg, until coated, then transfer to the breadcrumb bowl, gently roll it around until evenly coated and put on a large plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs and coatings.
5. In a small bowl, stir all the dipping sauce ingredients and put to one side.
6. Have ready a slotted spoon and a rack lined with kitchen paper. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil to 170C. To test that it is up to temperature, drop in a few panko crumbs: if they sizzle immediately, the oil is ready. Turn down the heat to medium-low and carefully lower in two scotch eggs. Fry for five minutes, turning regularly, until golden brown all over, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to the paper-lined rack. Repeat with the remaining eggs in batches of two.
7. Serve warm or cold with the dipping sauce alongside.