Whenever I go to the farmers’ market, I like to buy one ingredient that I’ve never cooked with before. It challenges me to learn about different food and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, my best creations come from taking a risk.
Cue: these quail eggs. I was browsing the farmers’ market last Saturday and I saw the eggs sitting beside cartons of strawberries and rhubarb. “Look, quail eggs,” some man next to me said to his wife, laughing under his breath. It did seem random but also fortuitous.
A friend of mine in Alabama told me about quail eggs a while ago but I’d never seen them in the market. She told me that they were even more flavorful than regular eggs, which is true. They’re tiny but they pack a powerful punch.
The only downside to quail eggs is that they’re kind of hard to crack. You wouldn’t expect it because they’re tiny and seem so delicate, like they’d crumble at the touch. But they’re actually pretty insulated so when you bang them against the side of the bowl, you also have to pry the shell open with your fingers.
Also, because they’re so small, it takes a lot of quail eggs to make a regular sized meal. My first quail egg foray was making scrambled eggs and it took about five quail eggs to make enough for dinner.
That’s why I’d recommend making something where quail eggs are more of a garnish than a main event. Some recipes I saw called for baking quail eggs in avocados or putting them into a hole cut out of toast. Those sound delicious but I decided to fry a couple eggs and put them on tartines.
This is one of the most delicious dinners that I’ve made in a while. I love the way the creamy goat cheese tastes with the smoked salmon. The avocado adds flavor and the quail egg adds richness and texture. Sprinkle with some flaky sea salt and pepper and you’ll feel a little like you’re eating a tartine at a boulevard café in France. Or maybe that’s just me.
Here’s a completely unrelated song that I listened to in the car this morning. I hadn’t heard it in a while but then it came on while I was driving to work.
Tartines with Fried Quail Eggs, Smoked Salmon, and Avocado (from me, to you)
2 pieces of good, crusty bread, toasted
3 oz of goat cheese, slightly softened
1 avocado, pitted and sliced thinly
2 quail eggs, fried
oil for frying
salt and pepper for seasoning
Toast the bread and set it aside. In the meantime, fry the eggs. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the quail eggs and fry until the whites are set and the middles are still runny. The quail eggs cook quickly so make sure to keep an eye on things.
Spread the goat cheese on the toasts and place smoke salmon slices on top. Add the avocado slices and then put the fried quail eggs on top. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!