Glasgow's Forgotten Recipes: Egg cutlets

A little while after tucking in, I realise I've still not got the foggiest idea about what an egg cutlet actually is...

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My favourite kind of meal is the type that incorporates multiple elements into one handy (and, ideally portable) dish.

Take the burrito. Fill it with all manner of treats - cheese, salsa, guacomole, steak pieces - wrap, and go. it's difficult to argue with the kind of logic that allows delicious flavours, textures and food items to come together in the name of consumption.

That's why I've been looking forward to egg cutlets for a while. It's the sort of dish that as you read down the list of ingredients, you become more and more sure that you've met your spirit animal in the form of a meal because it combines some of the best things in life. Eggs, for example. ham. Mushrooms. It's essentially a full English in the form of a single item, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. I think this could be true love.

The recipe begins with hard-boiling two eggs, chopping them finely along with a good dod (scientific Scottish term, there) of mushrooms and ham, similarly chopped and set aside. Meanwhile, I made a white sauce with butter, flour and milk and boiled it until thick. I've come to realise, at this point in my journey of the cookbook, that sometimes sauces don't thicken properly going by the instructions. The Glasgow Cookery Book's white sauce mix, in particular, has proven difficult before and this is no exception. Don't be afraid to 'freestyle', as I like to call it, and add a little more flour or milk as the mix requires. After all, if I'd spent all my cooking time so far abiding strictly by the rules, there wouldn't be a huge deal of success in my recipes so far.

After the white sauce, add the ham, hard-boiled eggs and mushrooms, and beat well. If, like mine, the consistency of the cutlets looks like something that might splatter the pavement of Sauchiehall Street after a Saturday night, keep the faith. It will get better. I then added a grating of nutmeg (the sweetness helps to balance out the salty ham) and salt and pepper, before adding one egg yolk to the mix in order to bind it. Then, the mixture should be left out to cool.

It probably isn't the best idea to leave your mixture on a plate in relatively incongruous place - like the windowsill - without telling your partner. That's a tip you can take from me first hand, unless you think it's funny to allow them to think you've been sick on a plate and left it for them to clear up (in which case, take my lead). Surprise spew aside, once the mix has been left for about half an hour, it's ready to be made into cutlets, croquettes or cakes. The consistency itself was too wet, I found, to be shaped properly, so I let it make its own shapes in the frying pan before turning golden brown. The definition of a cutlet seemed pretty vague from a cursory search on Google, so I was happy to be led where the mix chose to take me.

As I'd hoped, egg cutlets were like a big breakfast deep fried and delicious. The saltiness of the ham and seasoning was lifted by slightly sweet notes from the nutmeg, and it made for a cracking snack wrapped in tinfoil and eaten on the hoof. Next time, I'll add some tomato ketchup, sweet chilli sauce or a squeeze of lime to add an extra dimension, but as it was, it's a breakfast treat that's hard to beat. Furry arteries here I come.

Here's how I did it.

Egg cutlets.

1 oz butter

1 oz flour

1 gill milk

Seasoning

1 oz ham

2 hard boiled eggs

3 medium mushrooms

1 egg yolk

Grated nutmeg

Egg and breadcrumbs

Method

1 Melt fat, add flour and milk and boil until thick, season.

2 Add ham, eggs and mushrooms finely chopped.

3 Add seasoning and nutmeg and beat well.

4 Bind with yolk of egg.

5 Spread on plate and allow to cool.

6 Divide into 4 large or 6 small portions.

7 Shape into cutlets, cakes or croquettes

8 Egg and crumb, fry in hot fat

Food and drink

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