When you live in the countryside in France, you always end up swapping excess fruit and veg or other things with your neighbours.
Last week, we were given a dozen fresh quails eggs (des oeufs de caille).
Our neighbours just had new additions to the farm: a couple of quails.
A few days earlier, we were also given goose eggs. Not quite the same size, obviously, so we were very excited to taste the difference as these are just so cute and dainty. Having said that, perhaps this is just me, but despite their delicate appearance, I find their shell fairly strong, and they seem to break far less easily than the more common hens’ eggs. Either that, or it is simply because I am so much more careful when handling them as they look so fragile…
Now, how to cook quail eggs?
I decided to boil mine and then serve them with other nibbles with our aperitif, the popular French “Apéro”: I am no Delia Smith (check out her recipe!) so I simmered the eggs for 5 minutes, and they were perfect – that is what the guests said anyway as I didn’t get a chance to taste them: they disappeared too quickly!
No doubt, I will get more from my neighbours very soon and perhaps cook them differently.
In fact, I absolutely agree with Delia and also think that a cooking duration of 5 minutes is a bit too long for such small eggs, even if everybody really enjoyed them. Actually, she recommends a cooking time of 1 minute and 45 seconds. My neighbour suggested that once the fresh quail eggs have been added to boiling water, you leave them for 2 minutes 30 seconds. I have tried the second version (actually, 2 minutes 15 seconds) and the result is absolutely perfect! Once ready, it is a good idea to plunge them in cold water straight away in order to stop them from cooking further, then peel them under running cold water, ideally while the eggs are still slightly warm. That way, the whites are still perfectly cooked but the yolks are now wonderfully delicious and runny. A real treat for the tastebuds. Delia, eat your heart out!
As I seem to be on a roll and since it seems these delicacies have become a firm family favourite, my next venture is to try and make my own scotch eggs. Perhaps, knowing my culinary talents, this is a bit adventurous (these eggs are so delicate and tiny) but I find the idea extremely attractive.
And who knows, we have now come to the conclusion, as a family, that we would like to get our own quails for our personal use, rather than rely on the generosity of our French neighbours. Now, all we need to do is study the dos and donts of raising such birds and to make sure we give them the proper care that they need. It seems our current rabbit hutch could comfortably house 6 quails, which is a good start. Also, most importantly, we would need to make sure that they are in a sheltered area during the winter months, as quails cope well with the cold but not so much with the cold AND wet. Brittany doesn’t usually get very cold but it certainly gets very, very wet. However, this shouldn’t be too difficult: we are lucky enough to own a couple of outhouses and even a barn in our French property. Perfect!
So, if you have interesting recipes with quails’ eggs that you would like to share, please feel free to add them to this blog! We would be very excited to discover some new ideas: poached, boiled, fried, scrambled, it doesn’t matter. Just let us know!