Contains: Eggs and so forth. Is: Many of the ideas are vegetarian. Or all can be made vegetarian.
I got ideas from the “recipe” for making soft boiled eggs, but already had some of my own: https://www.pantsdownapronson.com/soft-boiled-quail-eggs/.
Upon my first laid quail egg, I considered honoring the occasion with a tiny omelet, but (wisely?) refrained, even for making it for the sake of this blog – despite the temptation. Making it for the blog isn’t good enough an idea.
Hard boiled eggs:
To Cook: I start either from cold water or add gently to already-boiling water. Timing is obviously going to be less critical than if one wants soft boiled eggs, especially at a specific consistency. I’ve started from cold water and have gotten them to boiling-stage, and allowed them to cook for 5 to 9 minutes. They were all nice. I have added them to boiling water (use a spider so they go in gently and don’t crack), and allowed them to go for 3 minutes, and they were hard cooked, but possibly a bit softer than some people’s taste buds prefer. So… go for five.
Shell and pickle them. I include three such recipes here, differing pickling agents and flavor profiles, only one of which do I add salt in any form, and only one to which I add sugar. These recipes lend an eye to ways you can expand on mine to suit your own tastes and what you have at hand.
I made personal mini-quiches recently (adapting my mini quiche recipe found here – which I discovered work even better by the addition of one extra chicken egg to make the total of three chicken eggs per 2 mini quiches). I inserted one peeled, hard boiled egg into each mini quiche as a nice little taste surprise. (I suppose one can make mini-quiches entirely from quail eggs, but I’ll leave that venture to others!)
Salad ingredients. Peel and scatter three peeled hard boiled eggs per individually-prepared salad as a garnish. If so inclined, slice them in half longitudinally for a more artistic flair.
If one is feeling decadently masochistic, making deviled eggs is an option; make them until you run out of patience. Your favorite stuffing recipe counts.
Soft boiled eggs:
To cook: With an egg that weighs 10-12 grams, you will gently add them at the same time to a pot of boiling water, using a spider or slotted spoon. Cook anywhere from 2 minutes and 15 seconds to 2 minutes and 45 seconds, depending on how thick you like your yolk to be. You do want the whites cooked all the way through, with some substance to their whiteness. If your eggs weigh more or less than the recommended, you’ll have to play and adjust. Mind you, while I always start my chicken or duck eggs off in tap water and bring to a boil, quail eggs are going to be more finicky, and so I do add them in when the water is boiling. Pull them out with a slotted spoon, or spider, and plunge into a cold water bath. (I’ve been using tap-cold.) As with all soft boiled eggs, they’re best eaten warm.
The above, sequentially, boiled 2 minutes, 2 min + 15 sec, 2 min + 30 sec, 2 min + 45 seconds. Timing counts.
If you have one, you can use a quail egg opener. It looks and works a lot like the implement one uses to clip cat claws, although the opening is larger. Mine hadn’t arrvied when I took the above photos – you’ll get a cleaner cut!
I got ideas from this “recipe” for making soft boiled eggs, but already had some of my own: https://www.pantsdownapronson.com/soft-boiled-quail-eggs/.
Straight up. I simply remove the top of the shell, and use a mini measuring spoon to eat. A little dusting of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt may be in order. You could spoon this onto a bread-y cracker or a Triscuit (I don’t eat bread all that often, so I don’t). I would make a side of some sort, however! My choices would be any of the four depicted above, depending on mood that day.
For Asian soups: Check under poached for Vietnamese pho or Japanese ramen for how best to serve, and apply here. For Chinese hot pot, however – gently peel the soft cooked whole egg without breaking the white. 2 minutes 15 seconds might be ideal, as you are less likely to break the white then if should you use the 2 minute egg. They will cook further in the hot pot. Set the eggs aside, and prepare your hot pot as per usual. This is typically a communal dish, and will usually consist of two different broths, where people dunk in the foods they want accordingly, allowing them to cook for the length of time optimal for each food. For adding in a quail egg or two at a time – add in and allow to stay in the pot for about 20-30 seconds (or longer should you prefer the yolk more solid). Retrieve with a spider or Chinese soup spoon, as chopsticks may break the yolk. Place on your plate or on your bowl, and then consume with everything else, breaking the yolk then as desired.
Scotch quail eggs: Boil as above for 2:15-2:30 minutes, plunge into ice cold water. De-shell carefully. Wrap thinly but to cover the entire surface with a ground beef sausage mix. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 350 F. Serve hot.
Raw egg yolks: (Trust your source).
To prepare: De-shell when very fresh, cleaning the egg shell surface first. .If you have one, you can use a quail egg opener as described above.
With sushi. Traditionally, raw sea urchin is a main seafood item that raw egg yolks can be served with. I’ve also had them on presentations with squid, ikura (salmon roe – those vibrant orange orbs!), tobiko, and (once) an ama ebi curled around & wrapped into a cucumber cup. The sea urchin, squid or tobiko is typically set in a bed of rice and wrapped with nori seaweed (or cucumber ends that have been hollowed of seeds and shaped into that cup mentioned above – in this case, there’s typically NO rice. (Order these types as sashimi or sushi with a quail egg, if the sushi bar has quail eggs to hand. Not all will, at least not all the time.) Yes, this will just be the yolk.
With beef/bison tartare. TRUST YOUR SOURCE! Back in the day (60s and 70s), Dad used to find freshly ground low fat beef at the local butcher. Nowadays, as I note in my earlier blog post, I only use un-ground non-fatty steak meat that I wash and then either finely chop up on my cutting board – or if I’d choose, grind said washed meat up myself. You do NEED to make sure your meat hasn’t been “artificially tenderized” by today’s “quick and un-easy” mechanical piercing mechanisms – which can push bacteria down INTO your steaks. (I won’t buy steaks to cook the way I like them – medium rare – if I suspect this could have been the case, either….) If you aren’t using a chicken egg yolk, consider quail… At any rate, here’s a link to bison tartare, although I used a chicken yolk there.
Salt cured yolks. You start out with a raw egg or so, and remove it from the shell, and separate the yolks from the whites, all the while keeping the yolk intact. I was inspired by this recipe from Household of Nicoles, but obviously I scaled down. I also used a lesser ratio of sugar, not being a sweet tooth. I suspect some sugar does help balance out the salt. At any rate:
- 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 4-9 quail egg yolks
- Mix salt and sugar together, layer some of this at the bottom of a bowl, add the egg yolks, so they do not touch each other OR the bottom of the bowl without a layer of the salt sugar mixture in between. Cover the yolks with the remaining salt/sugar.
- Cover and place in fridge for 3-4 days.
- Remove, brush off the coating from each yolk, rinse lightly and gently towel-dry. And prepare to dehydrate.
- In a dehydrator or oven that goes down to 150 F – coat a cooking surface with a little oil, to prevent sticking. Add the yolks. Pre-heat oven/dehydrator accordingly. ‘Allow to dehydrate for 1.5 – 2 hours.
- If you lack a dehydrator, and your oven doesn’t go down to 150 F (mine only drops to 170 F), allow them to sit unheated for two days in that oven (un-used, un-heated).
- Remove and refrigerate until use. You can microplane yolks over salads. Or soups. Or pasta.
To cook: If you have one, you can use a quail egg opener. It looks and works a lot like the implement one uses to clip cat claws, although the opening is larger. Simply open the egg at the narrow end with the opener, and gently pour out the egg into a small bowl. Collect all the eggs from their shells prior to cooking. Set up your skillet for frying, using cooking oil, butter or bacon fat, as per a normally-fried egg.
I’ve done this in the past, using one large duck or chicken egg, and say, three satellite quail eggs. Start the large egg at least two or three minutes ahead of the quail eggs, but have your mise in place ready ahead (the raw eggs already shelled and all). Ideally, cook in butter or bacon fat. I’ve only done these sunny side up, but nothing need stop you from making over easy or over hard. (Or even that horrific-to-me-crispy edged / bottomed abomination that seems to be a current craze for people trying to justify having overheated their skillets…. sorry. Sort of.) My name for my rendition of this dish is Sister and Siblings. Alliterative and fun. Or, Planet and Moons.
Toad in the Hole. Take a slice of quality baked bread, cut about 1 inch diameter – or slightly less – holes in the bread (two or three). Heat a skillet to medium high with either bacon fat, butter or cooking oil. Lay the slice of bread in, and toast each side for two or three minutes, allowing the butter or whatnot to soak in. Reduce heat, drop in de-shelled raw quail eggs into each hole, cover, and cook for a minute or two, until the eggs are cooked to your preferred done-ness, with the egg whites actually white. With a spatula, remove to a plate, and enjoy. Maybe this should be renamed “Toadlets in the Hole”?
Yes, I know – most British versions put sausages and not eggs into the bread… But this version DOES exist.
To cook: Remove from shells, and collect them all ahead of time. Discard or re-purpose any eggs where the yolk may have broken. Refer to below for specifics.
In Asian soups: One could poach separately and toss them in at the last moment just as one ladles out servings, which is useful if one is doling out for several servings – just add the same number of already-poached eggs to each person’s bowl
I tried another approach which also seems to work – although you should have a sufficient amount of liquid broth in place so that you can see where the eggs are going and how they are cooking. For this, I’d suggest your soup be done and reduced to a bare minimum of a simmer – some light bubbles, this is all. Then swirl in the de-shelled egg or eggs gently. When this poaching is done, simply serve. This is good for one or two people. I would suggest with either method that you can cook the eggs perhaps 20-30 seconds less, as the egg will set up a little further in the soup bowl.
Vietnamese pho. Cook as per your favorite recipe. At the table, you can add in additional last minute things like the Thai basil, cilantro, mint, mung bean sprouts – and anything you’d add in yourself during the eating enjoyment of this dish.
Japanese ramen. Cook as per your favorite recipe. If you add miso to your recipe, add that in after you reduce the cooking to a simmer but before you add in any quail eggs. This way you can more intensely stir the miso so that it blends into the broth proper. Then add the quail eggs, either already poached (to serve immediately) or to poach (to serve after in-soup poaching).
Poached eggs Benedict. I’d suggest for the hollandaise you will save yourself a world of grief if you use chicken eggs. Emulsifying is already a challenge, and you’d need a large batch of quail eggs to attempt this properly, especially if you try to make it with a stick blender. But anyhow: Use a small circular cookie cutter to reduce the size of your English muffin slices to about half. (Feed the rest to the chickens, or reserve for bread crumbs for some other dish.) Toast and butter each small circle, set aside on warm (a toaster oven set low is good for this). Slice up a little ham into small chunks, and set with the warming English muffin – or if you prefer Florentine as I do, sauté up some spinach, and use that instead. Perhaps with slivers of horizontally-sliced grape tomato. Meanwhile, prepare the pot with the appropriately-simmering water, add the eggs (two or three for each half, depending on your muffin size) as described above, poach and remove. Pull out the English muffin and place the eggs atop. Add a little homemade hollandaise (frankly, the commercial stuff I find to be nasty), and serve. Or, place the hollandaise to the side so guests can serve themselves… PS: the other option here is to use a full English muffin, but serve up, say, four eggs per half a muffin, for the full eggy effect!
Make quail egg pysanky: I don’t have the eyesight or patience for this fine art, but up to you. You can order, or at least surf for, pre-made quail egg pysanky from Etsy, to get an idea of the potential detail possible. (Pysanky is the traditional Ukrainian art of blowing out the contents of an egg from a pinhole, and decorating long lasting egg shells with finely detailed designs.)
Incubate and hatch a future generation: Always possible, if there’s a male in your hutch! In fact, edit Oct. 4th, I just hatched at least two of three quail eggs overnight! Hopefully the third is hatched as well! (Best not to disturb them too much during the process.)
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