I’ve heard it said in the past that everything tastes better when it’s covered in batter.
In many ways that’s not too far from the truth… Fish and Chips. Tempura Prawns. Deep-fried Ice Cream. All great things on their own, yet somehow enhanced when served inside a hot, crispy coating. Even towards the other end of the batter spectrum pancakes and crèpes are delightful and always bring joy. And what would be the point of a roast dinner without a Yorkshire Pudding? That mention of Yorkshire Puddings leads me nicely into this recipe for Toad in the Hole.
If you’re British then this is surely one of those meals that counts as a childhood favourite? If you’re not British then worry not – despite its name, there are no amphibians in this recipe. The “toads” in question are in fact sausages that poke out of a crispy batter, much in the way that a real toad pokes out of its burrow. Or at least that’s what the genereal consensus seems to be…
As this is a fairly simple dish you have to make sure you get the basics right – i.e. don’t scrimp on the sausages. You want properly meaty, flavoursome sausages in your Toad in the Hole. There are plenty of recipes where you can use cheaper alternatives, but here the sausages are front and centre so they need to be good. I like to use something with a lot of flavour and usually settle on the Cumberland variety. For me, the hit of black pepper is great against the richness of the batter.
Speaking of the batter – as noted below, this should be the first thing you make as it will benefit from being allowed to stand before being cooked. I don’t pretend to know why this is the case – it just is. Also, make sure that your ovenproof dish is really hot when you pour in the batter. Get that wrong and you’ll not get the right crust and have to spend all night doing the washing up!
So – good sausages + good batter = good times! Look at how tempting this is… Just add gravy!
Toad in the Hole
- 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 6 Good Quality Sausages
- 140 g Plain Flour sifted
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 large Free-Range Eggs
- 175 ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C.
- Start by making the batter as it will benefit from standing for a while before being needed. Pour the flour into a large bowl - make a well in the centre and crack in both eggs. Use a whisk to mix the eggs into the flour - go electric unless you're feeling extra strong and want to do it manually.
- Once the eggs are mostly incorporated start to add the milk slowly, whilst continuing to whisk. When everything has come together to a smooth batter put it to one side to rest until needed.
- Put vegetable oil into a 20cm ovenproof dish or roasting tin, then add the sausages and cook in the over for 15 minutes until browned on the outside.
- Remove the pan from the oven - it should be incredibly hot and sizzling, so do take care. Pour the batter into the pan and return it quickly to the top shelf of the oven for a further 25-30 minutes. During this time it should puff up and become golden brown, so if you think it needs a little longer to get to that stage do it!
- Serve with lots of onion gravy and a vegetable of your choice.