The Feast of St. Andrew
St. Andrew is the patron Saint of Scotland. His feast day on November 30th is celebrated with a huge festival, not only in Scotland, but also by Scots who live abroad. There is, for instance, a St. Andrew’s Society in Boston that was set up in 1657 and it’s still very active in organizing his feast day activities.
It was the custom for farm workers and laborers in Scotland to go ‘St. Andra’ing’, where they would go out and shoot rabbits, spend all day cleaning and preparing them, and then have a huge meal of roast rabbit and Scotch whisky. Eating a singed sheep’s head also used to be traditional. Today the occasion is more likely celebrated with an assortment of famous Scottish dishes such as Scotch broth, salted herring, beef in whisky sauce, finnan hadie, haggis, Dundee cake, Crannachan, a kind of sweet dumpling, Angus Toffee and, of course, lots of whisky.
One of my favorite Scottish dishes and something that’s always present at any St. Andrew day feast is Scotch Eggs, hard cooked eggs that have been encased in herbed sausage and deep-fried. They’re very easy to make and are delicious. Great with Scotch whisky or beer.
A mild vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 ¼ pounds country style sausage, removed from it’s casing (or buy bulk sausage)
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves chopped
A generous pinch of cayenne pepper
4 large, hard-boiled eggs
About ½ cup off all-purpose flour
2 raw eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup home-made, dry breadcrumbs
Over high heat about 4 inches of oil in a large pot.
In a large bowl combine the sausage, sage, thyme, a little salt, and the cayenne. Divide the mixture into four parts and flatten each portion out into a thin round. Wrap a sausage round around each hard-boiled egg, sealing it well with your fingers.
When the oil reaches approximately 360 degrees, it’s hot enough for frying.
Dredge the sausage covered eggs in flour, then dip them in the raw egg, letting the excess drip off, and then coat them in the breadcrumbs.
Fry the eggs, turning them gently a few times, until they’re golden all over, about 5 minutes. Lift them from the oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm.
Painting: “Saint Andrew and Saint Francis” by El Greco
Dining with the Saints is a monthly column written by chef and author Erica DeMane. Erica DeMane.com