My first attempt at Deviled Quail Eggs was definitely a learning experience. First off, the recipe I found online said to boil the eggs for 1 1/2 minutes. I wasn’t comfortable with such a short boil. Sure, quail eggs are tiny and should cook quickly. A minute and a half just didn’t feel right. So I boiled the eggs for 3 minutes. A quick plunge into the ice water bath and I checked one of the “extra” eggs. Soft boiled. Great for eating, not so great for deviling. Back to the boiling water for two more minutes. Just to be safe, I allowed a few minutes extra off-heat. With fingers crossed, I carefully peeled a second egg and checked the yolk. Perfect. Firm, with a nice bright color. Cooking time down.
Next lesson – quail eggs are hard to peel. These are tough little dudes. Gently roll the egg between the palms of your hand while applying a little pressure to create small cracks in the outer shell. Return quail eggs to the water bath and let the water help loosen the outer peel. Roll again between the palms of your hands and find a spot either in the center or at one end that the outer shell has risen enough to get a “peel” started. Peel as you would any other egg.
Third lesson – the yolks. Those little devils will not give up their yolks easily. A very small spoon such as a demi-spoon or salt spoon works well to break up the yolk a little and spoon it out. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and other ingredients slowly. While the recipe may call for two tablespoons of mayonnaise, depending upon the amount of yolk, one tablespoon might be all you need to create a paste. Remember, you want the yolk filling to be of piping consistency.
Final lesson – the platter. Obviously, quail eggs are too small to serve in a deviled egg platter. Lining a large dinner plate or small serving platter with shredded lettuce creates the perfect deviled egg tray if you will. By nestling the eggs into the shredded lettuce, it will cradle the eggs in place while hiding any strangely shaped whites (wait – you will see for yourself).
Deviled Quail Eggs with Caviar
2 large chicken eggs
18 quail eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Sour Cream
1/8 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 head green leaf lettuce, shredded
1 tablespoon American caviar
Place chicken eggs in a pot fitted with a lid. Cover eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 14 minutes.
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water..
Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken eggs to the ice bath to cool. DO NOT EMPTY PAN.
Carefully add the quail eggs to the hot water. Using chop sticks, roll eggs around as water comes to a boil to help center the yolks. Sprinkle water with salt and return to a boil. Boil quail eggs for about 5. Remove from heat and let eggs steep for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove chicken eggs from ice bath and set aside. Dump water and refill with more ice water. Using a slotted spoon, remove quail eggs from boiling water and plunge into the ice bath to chill.
Line a plate or serving platter with shredded lettuce. Set aside until ready to use.
Once quail eggs have cooled, carefully peel the all eggs and cut each in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks from the egg halves and transfer to a food processor fitted with a steel blade, reserving the whites of the quail eggs and discarding the whites of the chicken eggs (or saving them for another use). Arrange quail whites on top of shredded lettuce. Set aside until ready to fill.
Process yolks into fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbled yolks to a mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon zest, stir mixture to create a fine, smooth paste.
Spoon the deviled yolks to a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe the filling into the quail egg white halves. Top each deviled with a scant amount of caviar.