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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 3.33 / 5 (12 votes)

Prep time:
45 min, plus 2-3 hours purging the cockles
Cook time:
1 hr
Serves:
4

Maria Elia gives a pub classic a makeover, replacing pork mince with bacon, potatoes and sea-fresh cockles

Method

1. For the scotch eggs: rinse the cockles in cold water, discarding any that are broken, and scrub well to remove any sand, mud or grit. If the shells are open, give them a light tap; if they do not close, discard them. Leave the cockles in a bowl of clean water for 2-3 hours to get rid of any grit inside. Drain and set aside.

2. Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Drain and pass through a potato ricer or mash until smooth. Set aside.

3. Cook four of the eggs in a pan of boiling water with a dash of vinegar for 6-7 minutes (for soft-boiled), or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the hot water and cool in a bowl of iced water. When completely cooled, carefully peel and set aside.

4. Heat half of the butter in a large, deep pan over a medium heat until foaming, then add the bacon and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.

5. Add the remaining butter and heat until foaming, then add the shallots and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the white wine and cockles, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the cockles have opened (discard any that remain shut). Drain the cockles, reserving the cooking liquid.

6. Return the reserved cooking liquid to the pan and boil until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.

7. Place the cream in a small pan over a low heat until just warmed through.

8. Pick the cockles out from their shells and mix together with the bacon, potato, warm cream, parsley and just enough of the reduced cooking liquid to bind (about 100ml). Mix well and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

9. Divide the mixture evenly into four balls with lightly greased hands. Flatten one ball in your palm and place one egg into the middle, then gently shape the mixture around the egg, so that it is covered completely. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

10. Beat the remaining eggs in a bowl to make an eggwash. Dust the coated eggs in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dip into the eggwash and roll in the breadcrumbs to coat. Place onto a plate and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

11. For the creamed leeks: heat the butter in a small pan until foaming, then add the leeks and cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the milk gradually, stirring continuously until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the mascarpone, stirring until melted, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

12. To cook the scotch eggs, half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with the vegetable oil (enough to completely immerse the scotch eggs) and heat to 175C. Fry the scotch eggs in batches for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

13. To serve, cut out a 3cm circle from one end of each slice with a pastry cutter. Toast the bread in a toaster, then place onto serving plates. Spoon the creamed leeks into the hole in the bread and alongside, then place the scotch egg on top of the leeks in the hole. Garnish with pea shoots.

Ingredients

For the scotch eggs

  • 1 kg cockles
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • dash vinegar
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g smoked streaky bacon, or pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 200 g plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 g panko breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil, or rapeseed oil, for deep-frying
  • 4 x 2cm thick slices crusty sourdough, bread
  • handful pea shoots, to garnish

For the creamed leeks


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