Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quail Eggs... Unbelievably Adorable!

My affection for miniature cuisine began early in my
8 dozen Quail Eggs
culinary career. While in my first year of Culinary School, the 'Garde Manger' training supplied me with many tiny tools of the trade. I loved the decorative elements of buffet presentation and still enjoy the detail and art of food presentation and garnishing. It is referred to as ‘Culinary Art’ for a reason and a favorite saying of mine is, “We eat with our eyes first!”
A special darling in the miniature foods category is the quail egg. They are much smaller than a chicken egg, about one quarter of the size. They are usually speckled shades of ivory to deep brown in color; this combined with their miniature size makes them unbelievably adorable!

3 Chicken Eggs ~ 24 Quail Eggs  
The shell of quail eggs is much softer than hen eggs, so you have to be especially careful when handling and storing them. Check the expiration date and be sure you will be able to consume all the eggs before that date. Store the eggs in their original carton, with the rounded ends up. To keep them safe from bacteria, they need to be stored in the fridge, and are best on the top shelf. This will ensure that they get plenty of ventilation and an abundance of cool air around them. If you cannot store them on the top shelf, keep them as high off the bottom as you can. Keep the carton closed to minimize exposure to strong odors. Store the eggs for a week if they are needed for boiling because week old eggs will peel easier than fresh laid ones. Take the eggs out of the fridge ahead of time (to warm up to room temperature) for boiling. Cold eggs will crack when dropped into boiling water.

They taste pretty similar to chicken egg but they have a higher yolk to white ratio, which is a bonus for us yolk-lovers. They cook in a very short time and make an elegant addition to a salad, soup, hors d’oeuvres or canap├ęs.

To cook a perfect soft-boiled quail egg, time them for 2-1/2 minutes to produce a set white and thick yet runny yolk. After 4-5 minutes the egg will be hard boiled with a completely set yolk. These miniature hard-boiled eggs are a fun, make-ahead, one-bite cocktail party appetizer or snack. They can be fried but keep in mind the quick cooking time. If you want to make your quail eggs sunny side up, turn the heat off immediately after pouring the egg into the fry pan. Do not cook any longer than 3 minutes or they will be overdone. Softly poached quail eggs are delicious with salads or in soup on special occasions when you’d like to serve up something ‘out of the ordinary’ for your dinner guests. Poaching quail eggs is quite easy and can be left right until the last minute to cook, as eggs cool quickly and if served on a salad they should be served warm. Do not overcook; they should be soft inside. For poaching use only the freshest eggs possible.

You can find quail eggs at Superstore in the egg refrigerator.
Till next week... Bon Appetit!

photos by Sally Rae

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