Earlier this week, Hubby and I stopped at a new market on our way home from our weekly trip to the grocery store. Normally we don’t like to make extra stops with a carload of groceries in tow. However; The Pacific Island Seafood Market is one of those “you can’t get there from here” places. The way the road is divided; with an island down the middle; you either make a U-turn or approach from the opposite direction. Ever since The Pacific Island Seafood Market opened; we’ve thought about stopping in on our way home from grocery shopping. Just a quick in and out to see if the market is worth a planned trip.
This week, we made it a point to stop in. What a great market for Filipinos! Or for those looking for special ingredients. They have fish tanks with fresh cat-fish swimming about. Live lobster and crab tanks. In the egg case are your usual chicken eggs along side duck eggs and quail eggs. In the poultry case are chickens, ducks, geese and quail. Yeah, quail! Crab; lobster; scallops, squid, octopus and crawdads. The meat counter features beef, pork. lamb and goat. I’ve never seen goat meat in a market before. I’m going to have fun in the kitchen this year, learning to cook with different ingredients.
I’ve wanted to try quail eggs. They are so small and cute. I wondered about the flavor. Quail eggs are wonderful! Some people say they have a subtle gamey taste. I don’t agree. If you’ve raised your own chickens or have access to small farm raised fresh chicken eggs, you will notice that fresh farm chicken eggs have a richer “egg” flavor than the grocery store variety. The yolks of fresh farm eggs pop up from the whites as if to say “Yeah, we’re so fresh we are down right perky.” It’s the same with quail eggs.
As we stood in the check out line, Hubby asked if I knew how to cook quail eggs. Hey, an egg is an egg, right? Scrambled, poached, fried, in an omelette – what was there to know? Silly me . . . oh, sure quail eggs might cook up like any egg, but there are “tricks” to working with quail eggs.
You can’t crack open a quail egg the way you do a chicken egg. For one thing, you’d need very tiny fingers, but more important, a quail egg is leathery and doesn’t crack easily. The first whack and sure enough, I broke the yolk. Okay – let’s be more gentle. Tap . . . tap . . . tap – the thick shell and heavy membrane were not cooperating. Second whack – second broken yolk. That was okay, I’ll make scrambled eggs. The whole point was to sample the flavor of quail eggs. Although I had planned to serve my quail eggs sunny-side-up; scrambled eggs were just fine by me. And sample the flavor I did. Quail eggs are super delicious, with great texture and flavor. One thing I did notice was that quail eggs cook up quickly; even over lower heat.
Scrambled Quail Eggs
5 or 6 Quail Eggs (per serving)
1 Teaspoon butter or bacon drippings
Sea Salt to Taste (just a pinch)
White Pepper to Taste (just a smidgen)
Open Quail Eggs (see below) and place into a small bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Melt butter or bacon drippings into pan. Give a gentle swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Pour eggs into the skillet and let cook for about a minute, just long enough for the whites to begin to set.
Scramble as you would a chicken egg. Serve and enjoy.
After breakfast; I took the time to google “how to crack open quail eggs” for future reference. Unlike chicken eggs; quail eggs need to be cut open. Yep; cut open. This can be accomplished using several different “tools”. Depending upon how often you plan to cook with quail eggs you could invest a few dollars into a tool designed for opening quail eggs. The same thing can be accomplished without a special tool. A sharp paring knife; serrated knife or small craft scissors will do the trick. Regardless of the tool of choice; the method is the same. Push the tip of a sharp knife or small scissors into the shell about one-third of the way down from the top, saw or cut gently, and then pull off the top of the shell.
Already my mind is spinning with ideas – Quail Eggs Benedict; Deviled Quail Eggs, Quail Egg Omelettes and Quail Egg Asparagus Milanese just to name a few. The possibilities are endless.