Pickled Eggs and Pork Scratchings
These two recipes are a must-have essential for any pub’s blackboard menu. I must say at first the thought of pickled eggs was slightly, well… off-putting! Well the challenge for me was to come up with a traditional and ultimate bar snack menu with a contemporary British Larder twist, and the long and short of it is that pickled eggs and pork scratchings are two quintessential snacks to compliment a well-kept glass of real ale.
There is a very true saying that all good things take time to create and nurture. Well these two recipes will certainly test your patience - and they did test mine! I’m a bit impatient and want everything to have happened yesterday. Well I had to wait two weeks for these pickled eggs to be pickled and the pork scratchings also need 5 days salting before anything else can be done with them.
To create and complete these two recipes required a lot of reading, testing and eating. The fact of the matter is that there’s not much written word about pickled eggs; hence us making up our own, whereas on the other hand pork scratchings had a lot of references. The panel of tasters, developers and testers consist of James who lead the project and did the most of the doing, Tall Dan (he boiled the eggs), Skinny Dan (mainly eating the pickled eggs), Steve, Ross and myself (the three wise ones). Actually I just do the delegating, talking and eating and the rest are doing the deed! Well I’m a girl who knows what I like so they had to do it until we liked it! Simples!
We tried and tested several versions of the scratchings - 8 month’s worth to be honest. However, finally the literary word that won the taste test was the incredibly well-written Pork Scratchings, A Version Of by Fergus Henderson & Justin Piers Gellatly from ‘Beyond Nose To Tail’. We did however put our own twist on this well created recipe as one does, but the principle of the recipe remains the same.
The pickled eggs are kept in a pickle laden with spice so the pork scratchings had to follow suit.
We highly recommend both these recipes and sell the dishes with pride at the British Larder, however it must come with a health warning. “Consume responsibly in small quantities as sensitive teeth might suffer and a slightly tired heart and well-lived body might feel the strain if consumed in large, lavish quantities.” Or if you have a life motto like mine, “eat and enjoy, you only live once!”
Spiced Pickled Eggs
- 2L Aspall Cyder vinegar
- 15g black peppercorns
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 4 whole cloves
- 2tsp lightly toasted fennel and coriander seeds
- 20 large free range organic eggs
In a medium saucepan bring the vinegar and spices to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Sterilise one large glass jar, pour the cooled pickling liquid into the jar.
Boil the eggs for 9 minutes, cool in ice water and peel immediately, place the cold boiled eggs in the slightly cooled vinegar solution in the jar, ensure the eggs are completely covered with the vinegar, seal and refrigerate for two weeks.
Makes 20 pickled eggs
- 2 kg pig skin, with a little bit of fat attached
- Lots of coarse Sea Salt
- 2 whole star anise
- 5 black peppercorns
- 20 whole coriander seeds
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- enough duck fat to cover the skin for cooking
Remove as many hairs as possible from the pork skin.
Grind the star anise, peppercorns and coriander seeds using a pestle and mortar. Rub this into the pigskin.
Spread a layer of salt on a plastic tray, lay the bay leaves out, lay the pig skin on top and cover with more salt. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 5 days.
Once time is up wash the salt off and soak the pig skin in clean cold water over night. The following day, drain and pat the pig skin dry.
Place it on a deep over tray and cut the lemon in half, rub both halves on the skin, pour the duck fat over to cover.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Cook the pig skin for 2 1/2 hours. Cool and remove the skin from the duck fat.
Lay the pigskin on a cooling rack over a baking tray, return to the preheated oven until golden brown, crisp and puffed. Keep a close eye so that it does not burn.
Leave to cool, use a sharp knife to cut it into bite size pieces or simply snap using your bare hands and enjoy!
Keep the remaining pork scratchings in an air tight container.