Sixty quail eggs arrived at my apartment the other day. That’s six with a zero at the end. Not six or sixteen. 60. Want to know what that looks like? To be honest, it’s not very much. They’re tiny little guys.
After admiring their beauty for a few days, relishing in the fact that I had something that, for me, seemed so elegant and exotic, sitting in my refrigerator, I then began to wonder just how I was going to use these eggs. Others, like my mom and dad, started inquiring as well.
“How do you cook quail eggs?”
“Have you thought about what you’re going to do with all of them?”
“When are you going to post the eggs on the blog?”
GAH! THE PRESSURE!
And when I’m feeling stressed, there’s really only one thing to do… and that’s make a pizza. I’m right… right? A tall beer and a slice of pizza make for one very happy man.
These quail eggs were almost too pretty to eat, with their brown speckled shells. They are a dream to photograph and I had fun scouring the yard in search of various backgrounds to use to accentuate their exquisite beauty.
It may be hard to see the distinction between these and hen eggs, but one thing I noticed was the consistency of the yolks. Before turning the quail eggs into a pizza topping, we hard boiled a few. While it’s a subtle difference, I found their yolks to be creamier and less chalky than other eggs.
Cracking quail eggs was not as difficult as I had anticipated. After a few failed attempts, I figured out the trick. The best way to open these eggs is to work on one of the ends, gently cracking into the tip until you reach the membrane. At this point, you can peel away a hunk of the shell and then break through the membrane, which will allow you to pour the egg out into a bowl. Of course, there may be easier ways (I’m sure folks have come up with lots of techniques), but this proved to be successful.
You may be curious as to how I came to acquire said quail eggs. They were generously provided by the generous folks at FromTheFarm.com, which sells a variety of farm-fresh ingredients. Here’s a little info they gave me about the source of their quail eggs:
“Our fresh quail eggs are mailed the very day they’re hatched at Turnbull Farms in Bloomington, Indiana. Zachary Turnbull comes from a long generation of Scottish-American farmers and takes great care in providing these gourmet delicacies delivered directly to your doorstep in quantities of 2, 4, 6, or 8 dozen. He sells the eggs at his local farmers market, and to consumers across America through FromTheFarm. Zach says that many parents enjoy the petite size of hard-boiled quail eggs for this kids, and those who suffer from hen egg allergies can enjoy quail eggs without issue.”
Also, if you are interested in raising your own quail, FromTheFarm also has Giant Brown breed hatching eggs.
The folks at the site are generously providing a 10% discount on quail eggs to A Thought For Food readers. The discount is valid until September 20th, 2012. Just use the code: THOUGHTFORFOOD.
Lastly (and completely unrelated to quail eggs), this week is our big launch of The Boys’ Club, a new cocktail blog created by a few of us male food bloggers. Please stop by to check out some posts. Be prepared, though… you’re going to want to mix up a drink. But, as I like to say, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Cheers!
Quail Egg Pizza
(pizza dough recipe adapted slightly from Jim Lahey’s recipe)
Yield: 2 pizzas (Serves 8-10)
3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons (10 grams) instant or active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
3/4 teaspoon plus pinch (3 grams) sugar
1 2/3 cups water
Extra Virgin olive oil for pan
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
2 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 large tomatoes, sliced
4 ears of grilled corn, kernels shaved from cob
24 quail eggs
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the water, and using a spoon, your hand, or a baker’s plastic bench scraper, mix together until blended — about a minute (Jim says 30 seconds but mine took a bit longer). You don’t want to mix or knead this dough too much, or else the gluten will develop and you won’t be able to shape it in the pan. But you want to mix in all the lumps of flour. In the end, you’ll arrive at a stiff dough.
2. Cover the dough and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours. (If your room is cold, put it in the oven with a pilot light to warm up a bit, or in a closed cabinet).
3. Dump out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Use both pieces, or save one in the refrigerator (I use a zip lock bag) for up to 1 day. Oil a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet liberally with good extra virgin olive oil (yes, pour it on). Then gently plop the dough on the pan and stretch and press it out to the edges. If it springs back (that’s the gluten working) wait five minutes and then proceed. I found the gluten weak enough to spread it fully over the pan. The dough is very thin. If it tears, piece it back together.
4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
5. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and cheddar on top of the pizza dough. Spread tomato slices evenly across dough. Sprinkle corn on top. Evenly distribute the fresh mozzarella over the pizzas. Sprinkle fresh basil. Season with a little salt and pepper.
6. Bake in the oven for approximately 23 minutes, or until edges have browned and all the cheese has melted.
7. Pull pizzas out of oven and pour a dozen eggs over each, making sure to spread across the pie evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes. Remove immediately, cut and serve.