Our odd purchases from Jungle Jim's this time were quail eggs & pheasant eggs. I was very excited to use quail eggs -- they're always making fun quail egg stuff on Top Chef. It turns out that quail egg recipes, at least online, are few and far between. (Well, there were some with caviar, but I don't have any, and I didn't think my guests would appreciate it.) My mother owns the Top Chef cookbooks, but she couldn't find any there either. The recipes we wound up with were decidedly uninspired: deviled eggs and toad in the hole. Despite the lack of inspiration and the fact that quail eggs taste just like chicken eggs, we made some tasty hors d'oeuvres.
6 quail eggs
1. Rinse the eggs under warm water. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel. Pat dry.
2. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks with a very small spoon into a bowl; mash. Mix with remaining ingredients to taste. Carefully fill the whites with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle with chives and arrange on a decorative cocktail tray.
- Balsamic Braised Bacon
- 1 ounce olive oil
- ½ pound slab bacon
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves, garlic, sliced
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons SIMI Sauvignon Blanc (or SIMI Chardonnay)
- 3 ounces chicken stock
- 1 sprig thyme
- a pinch of black pepper
- 18 quail eggs
- 1 French baguette cut into 1/3" diagonal slices
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1 small cello container of micro arugula or baby arugula cut into a chiffonade
- Extra virgin olive oil
- In a small non-reactive saucepan, sear the bacon on all sides until golden brown.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the next five ingredients and cook covered over low heat until very tender, about 2-3 hours.
- Turn as needed. Let cool and store in the braising liquid. When cold, remove the fat that has solidified at the top and discard.
- Gently remove the bacon from the liquid. Cut into small lardoons. Sauté over medium low heat in a nonstick pan until slightly crisp.
- Using an egg cutter or paring knife, gently cut off the tops of the quail eggs so you can get the eggs out quickly. Set aside. Using a 1" round cutter, cut out the center of each bread slice.
- Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat. Spread one side of each bread slice lightly with butter and place as many bread slices as will fit on the griddle, butter side down.
- Remove when golden brown. Spread some more butter on the griddle and place the slices golden side up. Quickly empty each egg into the holes and cook until over medium. Remove and place onto platters. Top with bacon.
- Toss the micro arugula with a touch of the extra virgin olive oil and place atop the eggs and bacon. Serve immediately.
Here is the mini-toad-in-the-hole cooking.