Ingredient Introduction #44 – Quail Eggs

Just a few posts ago, I proclaimed my love for eggs, and not just any eggs. They have to be fresh from the farm. No high hens that work as feathered oompa-loopas popping out mediocre, thin shelled, barely yellow yolks.

So on my most recent trip to The Grain Loft (a GREAT place!) to stock up on the good stuff, I found one lonely little package of quail eggs. They sat there longing for someone to take them from the big brown bullies stacked up behind them. Okay, so it wasn’t that dramatic.

But I couldn’t pass up these cute little things. I mean, normally I’d get mad seeing an Easter-like egg in stores in January. I’m already ticked off that you can get Cadbury eggs by the fist-full. Cupid hasn’t even shined up his bubbly butt yet. I digress.

They look like something Hershey’s would create. Seriously.

They’re imperfectly speckled. And they’re in a tiny little carton that’s double-covered in plastic. They’re as dainty as they look.

I’ve always wanted to try quail eggs. All the Iron Chefs use them to decorate their perfect little plates.

This was my opportunity!

I asked the owners of the shop, and they sold me.

They told me they made little tiny deviled eggs with them. How cool is that? And they said they make great snacks when simply hard-boiled. Sometimes a chicken egg is just too big for a snack (in my opinion).

Aside from the fact that they’re completely adorable, there has to be a reason to get these instead of chicken eggs, right?

These came in a pack of 6, and were around $4 (if memory serves).

There’s no risk of salmonella with quail eggs. That’s because the quail has a higher body temperature. So, if you use raw eggs, like in smoothies or salad dressings, quail eggs are perfect.

As far as nutritional value, I’m torn.

One serving of quail eggs would be 5 of them versus 1 large chicken egg.

When you look at the hard numbers, they seem pretty equal in terms of protein. There are 1.2 grams of protein per quail egg and 6 grams per chicken egg. So one serving of quail eggs would be 6 grams. There are some out there who say quail eggs have more protein in terms of percentages (13% protein in quail eggs vs. 11% in chicken eggs).

Again, by the numbers, quail eggs seem to have a little bit less fat and a little more iron than their chicken colleagues.

For me, this isn’t about the nutrition. I like quail eggs for the novelty of them.

I don’t see myself using several quail eggs at a time for baking or coating a chicken breast for breading.

I made them two ways.

For hard-boiling, they take no time at all.

I read that if you drop cold quail eggs into already boiling water the shells will crack on impact.

So, I put them in a pan, covered them with about an inch of cold water, added 2 tsp. white vinegar, and brought the water to a boil. I let them boil for 4 minutes.

Then, I used a slotted spoon to move them to an ice bath.

They’re not too hard to peel. They’re smaller, so that makes a big difference.

They taste exactly like chicken eggs. They’re just bite-sized, and I love that.

For my second preparation, I had a bit more fun.

I made quail-egg croutons on a salad with bacon dressing!

Here’s what you need to make 2 servings:
4-6 quail eggs
French bread, a baguette, or any narrow kind of bread
4 strips bacon
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. real maple syrup
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
Your favorite salad ingredients (I used artisan lettuce, 1 tomato, red onion slices, Parmesan cheese shavings, and potato stix)

First, make your dressing.

In a large non-stick pan, fry the bacon over medium heat. Turn the strips frequently. You want the fat to render. Cooking slowly, will do that, while still making sure the bacon is crisp.

Once the bacon is nicely browned, transfer it to a few pieces of paper towels to drain.

Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner.

To the grease, add the juice from the orange, the mustard, the maple syrup, the vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Stir it up with a wooden spoon until it’s combined and smooth.

Transfer to a bowl. Don’t freak out. This makes just a little bit of dressing. You don’t want to over power the salad. Plus, the yolk of the egg will still be runny, so that’ll help dress your bites, too.

Wipe down your pan.

Now prepare your salad.

Get your vegetables washed, your onions sliced, and your Parmesan shaved.

Arrange it on the plates. Don’t forget to chop up the bacon and add it to the plates. You want to be able to make the quail egg croutons and eat them right away. They’re better that way.

Now, put the pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil.

Slice up your baguette or French bread into 1/2 inch thick slices. I did 4 slices. You can do 6 or even 8. Just depends on how many eggs you want. Then use a spoon to carve out a small oval in the center of the slices.

When the butter is melted, add the bread slices to the pan. Cook them until they’re golden brown 4-5 minutes.

Flip them over, and crack the quail eggs into the holes. Be careful. The eggs are a little harder to crack than a chicken egg. If you get a shell in the pan use a spoon to fish it out.

Once you crack the eggs into the holes, sprinkle on a good bit of salt and pepper all over the crouton. I also added a sprinkle of garlic powder (that’s optional, so I didn’t put it in the ingredients list.)

Once the white of the egg is firm, and the yolk is still runny, the croutons are ready.

Put them on top of the salad (2 per plate).

Drizzle on the dressing.

I tried to make this salad reminiscent of breakfast. Eggs, toast, bacon, potatoes, orange… the whole package.

There are all sorts of textures here.

The quail eggs are a real treat. They’re creamy and play perfectly with the crunchiness of the crouton. I could’ve eaten 4 or 5 easily.

If you don’t want to deal with the bread or if you’re trying to be low-carb, just fry the eggs in the pan and lay them, sunny side up, onto the salad.

I’m excited to get more of these tiny treats! I think kids would get a kick out of them. I know I did.. and I’m no Spring chicken!

Tip: ALWAYS salt your raw tomatoes. For a salad, I cut up the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt and then add them to the rest of the veggies. Salt really enhances the flavor of the tomato. Don’t rely on the salt in a dressing to do the trick. It won’t.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. And to think I was there when you were eyeing these cute eggs!! I am astounded and amazed at what you create with food. You are a culinary artist.
    Thank you for making food a little less scary and encouraging us to try new things.

    1. You are so sweet! I had a lot of fun with this! Can’t wait to meet you at The Grain Loft again!!

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