A few nights ago, there was a knock at my door fairly late in the evening, close to 10 p.m. Although it is always startling when someone shows up that late, I knew it had to be my neighbor, out walking her pup before bed. Sometimes they stop by to say hi and sometimes to bestow a basket of eggs upon me. They have about 10 hens, whom I feed when they go out of town.
I opened the door and there was Angel, the fluffy white dog, and one of his moms. But instead of chicken eggs, she held a tiny case of quail eggs, a gift, she explained, to Angel’s other mom, from a student.
“Who do we know who might want quail eggs?” they asked and then said, simultaneously, I suspect, “Michele.” I have a reputation in these parts and, for the most part, it’s warranted.
The other night for dinner I experimented bit by heating a corn tortilla until it was very hot and soft. I then tore it in half, smeared both halves with some Chermoula and topped it with a quail egg fried in butter.
Wow! What a great combination of flavors and textures.
I made the dish again this morning and but instead of preparing over-easy quail eggs I made them sunny side up, basting them in a butter enough to get the yolk hot but not hardened. This version was even better than the first version.
The dish is ideal for a very light breakfast and also makes a wonderful appetizer.
Quail eggs are almost always available at Asian markets. Triple T Farms, which sells at the Redwood Empire Farmers Market on Wednesday and Saturdays and at the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday sometimes has them, too.
One thing to know about quail eggs is that they are not all that easy to crack. I smack the middle of the egg shell with the blunt side of a heavy knife and then careful break the tough membrane with the tip of the knife. I then tip the egg, carefully, into a little glass bowl before slipping it into a small saute pan with plenty of melted butter over medium low heat.
You can use Italian-style Salsa Verde or Chimichurri instead of Chermoula if you prefer or simply happen to have some on hand.