The Scotch Egg requires no introduction; but the origins of this delicious snack are a source of much debate.
It is said to have been invented in 1738 by the London department store Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly. They could, however, have been influenced by the Mughlai dish nargisi kofta ("Narcissus meatballs"). The first printed recipe can be found in Maria Rundell's A New System of Domestic Cookery, published in 1809.
Maria Rundell - A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1809
Originally they were not covered in sausage meat but in a rich, creamy fish paste before being sprinkled with breadcrumbs. Their name in those days was 'Scotties,' allegedly because they were made at an eatery by the name of William J Scott & Sons close to the seafront. Hence, over a period of time, the term Scotch eggs was adopted.
Due to a lack of meat during WWII, the Scotch Egg's quality deteriorated, and we began to lose faith in the product. Food manufacturing embraced technology more and more, and by the 1960s and 1970s, our breadcrumbed hero had lost his superpowers due to inferior, over-processed meat and the wrong kind of breadcrumbs used by competitors. As a result, many people thought it was a bit naff and out of style.
Despite these challenges its appeal comes down to the fact that it has remained an astonishingly simple dish to make and, even using the highest quality of ingredients, relatively economical too.
The Scotch Egg has changed over the years and has become supremely adaptable. Over the years we have not been afraid to experiment with new kinds of flavours and ingredients, from black pudding to our new smoky BBQ, elevating it to finger food at cocktail parties or becoming the must-have on that all important summer time picnic.