Monday, August 11, 2014

Soft-Boiled Scotch Quail Egg

I'm sure I've already mentioned the frequency I eat eggs.  It's often.  I love eggs.

The first time I had a quail egg was in Thailand.  Doug and I were on our honeymoon, perusing a street market looking for dinner.  So much of the food looked and smelled unfamiliar which was thrilling.  But more than once, something we had thought was foreign turned out to be a familiar ingredient that had just been prepared in an unrecognizable way.  In those circumstances we had conversations that went something like this: "So, do you think that's a meat or some kind of a fruit?" [cautiously take a bite]  "Oh, it's a potato."  Somehow, that was an equally exciting discovery.

At one point, we came across a stand selling fried hard-yolk quail eggs with a light squirt of that fermented, southeast Asian staple: fish sauce.  I swear, fish sauce over there is like Franks over here.  It goes on everything!  I liked the salty addition, but the powerful flavor overwhelmed any delicate flavors of the egg itself.  I made a mental note to try quail eggs on my own sometime back in the states.

Our Thai Street Meat Adventure
Earlier this year, I was planning meals for a small-bites style party.  I had just eaten my first scotch egg (sausage wrapped soft boiled egg coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried) at Ramsay Pub in Vegas and I wanted to play with that concept.  I thought if I could wrap only the yolk of an egg in sausage, the small size would be perfectly appropriate for the party I was planning.  In the sous-vide, I was able to slow cook an egg yolk to a custardy consistency but once the sausage wrapped egg was placed in the deep fryer, I couldn't manage to stop the pressure of the cooking sausage from breaking the soft yolk.

I was so set on this idea of the miniature scotch egg.  Then Doug made the genius suggestion.  Quail eggs.  I went on the hunt.  After unsuccessful searches at the normal grocery markets, BNF helped me find the eggs at the most logical market, An Chou, the Asian market on Bailey.  (Did you read the paragraph before this about Thailand?  D’oh, why wasn't my first stop at the Asian market?)

I couldn't wait to get them home.  I soft boiled one, peeled it, popped it in my mouth, chewed, let the soft yolk coat my tongue (my favorite part!) swallowed and panicked!  To me, it tasted slightly and unexpectedly different from a hen egg.  I'm having a tough time putting the difference into words, but it tasted... gamey?  It took me by surprise and made me nervous because online others said that there was no taste difference.  Don’t believe everything you read online... ha.

In fact, I also read that quail eggs would be more difficult to peel than regular eggs.  I didn't have much of a problem, but to be fair a few nicks here and there didn't bother me because I was wrapping them in sausage anyway.

They came out miniature, soft-yolked and absolutely delicious.

Soft boiled Scotch Quail Egg
1 dozen

12 quail eggs, room temperature
3/4 lb breakfast sausage (I used storebought and mixed in some extra sage, brown sugar, cayenne and nutmeg)
1 egg, whisked

Bring a pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath.  Gently drop the quail eggs in the boiling water for 23 seconds and transfer immediately to the ice bath.  Once cool, peel off the shells.

Roll a small piece of breakfast sausage into a ball and pound it flat to approximately 1/8 inch thickness between sheets of plastic wrap.  Wrap the sausage around the egg.  Brush the outside of the sausage with whisked egg and toss in breadcrumbs to coat.

I did the steps above ahead of time and stored the uncooked balls in the fridge over night.  Then just prior to serving, I dropped each egg into the fryer for about two minutes or until golden brown.

Interesting Asparagus Fact: Twenty-five percent of people report having pungent pee after eating asparagus, but the truth is that even though everyone’s body breaks asparagus down into those smelly chemical components during digestion, only about one-quarter of the population has the gene that allows them to smell it.  Therefore, if you smell a funny fragrance in your urine after you eat asparagus, you're not only normal, you have a good nose.

Before cooking asparagus, I always snap off the tough ends, freeze them and use them later for soup.  For this recipe, I was using the asparagus heads for a garnish so I cooked those (plus a few stalks for snacking…) and added the unused (uncooked) stalks to my frozen stash.

Roasted Asparagus

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line the asparagus on a baking pan or tray.  Lightly drizzle them with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake to desired doneness.  I like to let them go for ~15 minutes.

A moutarde sauce is just a hollandaise sauce finished with dijon mustard and it tasted fantastic with the scotch egg and asparagus.

There are a lot of opinions out there about the best method to make hollandaise but I like to use (my favorite gadget in the kitchen) the immersion blender.  It makes quick work out of soups and sauces.

Like with aioli, be sure your egg yolks are at room temperature.

Moutarde Sauce

1 stick + ¼ stick butter
3 egg yolks, room temperature
½ tablespoon water
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Melt the butter in a separate dish.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, use an immersion blender, whisk or blender depending on your preference to combine yolks, water, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Continue to beat for 1 minute or until the yolks are creamy and light in color.

Slowly add the butter one drip at a time and continue to whisk/blend.  Continue to drip the butter in until it is all incorporated.  The key here is to incorporate the butter very very slowly!

Once all of the butter is incorporated and the hollandaise is a creamy consistency, add the mustard and blend for 30 more seconds.

I served this dish garnished with chives and parmesan at the Pasta, Passion and Pistols party
with raspberry almond pancakes on the side.

Thailand and Indonesia


  1. love the food, and especially the personal experiences

  2. These look so fun and delicious! Great idea to use quail eggs!

  3. If you have "the nose" and you eat asparagus DON'T eat every bean and pea on your plate.

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