Ah, the mighty egg. It symbolizes renewal, birth and the promise of a flourishing world, all contained inside a fragile shell. Boiled, over-hard, deviled, poached, sunny-side-up or scrambled, eggs are as delicious as they come. 

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with a local source for the most beautiful quail eggs. They were the star of a starter course in the form of a salt-cured sphere of bright flavor. I had to get my hands on more to make Saturday brunch for me and my daughter. Sarah Amstutz at Honey Basket Backyard Homestead is now your source for the loveliest quail eggs. Although they can be found at Asian markets in town, there’s something I hold dear in supporting local growers, farmers and makers. 

These miniature marvels are speckled gems a fraction of the size of a chicken egg. The inside of the shell immediately brings to mind the color any woman would want to be gifted at least once in her life: the Tiffany Blue Box. For that reason, I fell in love with them. 

And, you guessed it, they can be prepared in all the ways you would normally prepare a chicken egg. Shall we count the ways? 

Boiled: Perfectly boiled quail eggs make an exquisite addition to salads and charcuterie boards or can stand on their own as a simple snack. Boil them for about 4 minutes for soft-boiled or 5 minutes for hard-boiled, then cool in ice water. They’re super-delicate, so take special care when peeling. You might also need a hefty side of patience to get the job done. 

Poached: Poached quail eggs add an elegant touch to soups, salads or as a garnish for fine-dining dishes. Gently slide them into simmering water with a splash of vinegar for about a minute until set. 

Pickled: Pickling quail eggs infuses them with tangy flavors, making them a zesty snack or a unique gourmet garnish for salads and appetizers. Immerse boiled eggs in a spiced vinegar solution and let them marinate for several days. 

Scrambled: Soft, creamy, scrambled quail eggs are a luxurious breakfast treat. Whisk them with a little cream and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until just set. For an extra creamy texture, whisk in a small triangle of Laughing Cow cheese. You won’t be sorry that you did! 

Baked: Baked quail eggs are a delightful surprise when nestled into mini tartlets, bread cups, or baked on top of small, savory dishes. Bake them at 350 degrees for just a few minutes or until the whites are set.

Omelet: A mini omelet can be filled with herbs, cheese or vegetables for a bite-size gourmet experience. Beat the eggs lightly and cook in a small skillet until set, folding over your choice of fillings. 

Fried: If you want to inject charm into your presentation, tiny fried eggs are precious atop canapés, avocado toast or mini breakfast sandwiches. Cook them gently in a hot skillet for about a minute or until the whites are set but the yolks remain runny. Or, like me, you can fry eighteen of them at the same time and top them with fried chorizo and harissa. Just have fun!

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  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.

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