5 April 2010

Pre-Easter Eggsperimentation

As Easter was getting nearer and nearer, eggs in all colours and sizes kept cropping up more and more and during one shopping trip, I impulsively bought a lonely looking packet of quail eggs. I've seen them around, but have never had them and given our recent escapade into duck eggs, I've been feeling adventurous.

And so as a nice surprise to Lundulph I served them as a starter before our salad dinner.


The instructions stated to carefully put in boiling water for one minute, then take off the heat and leave for another 30 seconds, which will achieve a soft boil. If aiming for a hard boil, let them boil for two minutes, followed by a 30 second rest in the hot water. I went for the soft boil and they turned out perfect, even if I counted the seconds in my head, rather than using a timer. A bit fiddly to peel, being so very tiny, but once that was done, a quail egg was a wonderful bite with a nice firm white and creamy runny yolk. The shells were beautifully brown/grey speckled, slightly blueish on the inside and the flavour was very much like a regular chicken egg, but with a slight hint of sweetness at the end.

When I made a second lot a couple of days later, again I counted in my head, however this time I must have counted faster because the eggs were underdone and had to go back in to the water for a few more seconds.

My third attempt was when half the family came over for the traditional Easter dinner. This time I timed it strictly to the second and they ended up between our previous two attempts, so were pretty tricky to peel and most managed to squeeze them too hard so the yolk erupted out. I worked out that peeling the top third of the egg was sufficient to suck out the creamy yolk, then use the tip of a dinner knife to scoop out the white. Still, they tasted lovely on little nests of baby leaf salad. No need for any seasoning or dressing, I might add.

Which brings me to the second egg of the season, I spotted this in our local farm shop, where I also got the beautiful baby salad leaves for the family dinner. The egg was from a goose and was massive in comparison. I've not seen goose eggs in at least 20 years and I'd certainly never eaten one, so this was all very exciting too.


A quick google indicated that boiling for 10 minutes would result in a runny yolk, so that's what we did. I remembered also that Stephen of Dinner Diary had boiled one for 11 minutes a couple of years ago too.

So after boiling the thing, Lundulph and I started peeling it, realising that the shell was significantly thicker. There was also quite a lot of white at the top and Lundulph began to despair that there wouldn't be much yolk, but this was completely groundless - there was loads and it was wonderfully runny and creamy.

On the whole, it seems that flavour-wise these eggs are pretty similar to each
other, at least to me and Lundulph. The raw white of a duck egg is a lot clearer than
the corresponding chicken one, but behaves in pretty much the same way in cooking too. I've yet to try it out on meringues.

I'm now also pretty curious to see if I can get hold of a turkey egg, I'm guessing it would be of similar size to the goose egg.

The online shop where I purchased the ostrich fillet for Christmas also say they do eggs, when in season, though this season isn't specified. This sounds extremely tempting, but would require the majority of our extended family to come together for a massive omelet for a purchase like this to be viable. Not entirely out of the question for the future though.

One thing to note in the two photos above is that the bowls in which the quail and goose eggs are presented are the same.

Oh, and sorry for the silly pun on the post title, I just couldn't resist.

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