Egg Hunt

Chefs reinvent a decadent bar snack

What could possibly turn the Scotch egg–a cooked egg wrapped in sausage and bread crumbs, then deep-fried–into an even more decadent dish? A bunch of bar food-obsessed chefs, who are upping the ante by draping eggs in everything from boudin to caviar.

"Scotch eggs are such wonderfully horrible, delicious things," says Chip Flanagan, the chef at Ralph's on the Park in New Orleans, who just debuted a Cajun-inspired adaptation (pictured). He soft-boils the egg so the yolk stays runny, then wraps it in boudin–the iconic Cajun pork-and-rice sausage–before frying it and serving it over a salad dressed with pepper-jelly vinaigrette, which mixes with the yolk to create a sublime dressing. The result is a brilliant riff not only on Scotch eggs, but also on Louisiana's famous deep-fried boudin balls.

In New York, chef Erik Battes at Perry Street gives the Scotch egg an equally over-the-top treatment: He deep-fries a panko-crusted poached egg, tops it with a scoop of American sturgeon caviar and serves it on buttery brioche rounds along with vodka-infused crème fraîche and a chervil-tarragon-dill salad.

Purists looking for more traditional Scotch eggs (which reputedly originated in England, not Scotland) are in luck too: Straight-up versions are a hit at buzzy newcomer The Original in Portland, Oregon; at Cakes & Ale in Decatur, Georgia; and at NYC's pubby Wilfie & Nell.

And at Chicago restaurant The Bristol, chef-owner Chris Pandel fries pork sausage-stuffed olives with a lemony crème fraîche. His popular "Scotch olives" are just like Scotch eggs–except, of course, for the egg part.