I adore Quail's eggs. So much so that when I lived in Japan I'd buy these little speckled eggs by the tin and eat a tin for dinner, just with some sea salt and perhaps a little Japanese mayo if I felt like it. I was rather excited when I saw a tin of quail's eggs, a much larger and cheaper tin at that, in Chinatown so I brought them home all set to have a tin (or half of it) for dinner. One bite and I knew something was wrong. There was an almost bitter, tinny taste to the eggs. I threw them all out and knew that I would have to either get fresh or buy some from a Japanese grocery store.
When we went for a drive up to Cowan one weekend, we saw some boys selling quail and chicken eggs by the side of the road along with tamarillos. I bought 6 quail eggs for $1 and 5 tamarillos for $1 (yes big spender me). The Tamarillos I made into a Tamarillo Tiramisu and as for the quail eggs, I had seen this recipe in a magazine which involved dipping them in Za'atar, a middle eastern spice and seasoning mix.
I had all of the Za'atar ingredients to hand except for the Sumac which I was pleased to find at Coles. I used a tip of Nigella's in which you drop in a fresh, unlit match to the almost boiling water. This somehow prevents any egg white which may escape from whipping up a storm in the pot.
The quail egg membrane and shell do require a delicate touch, the quail's egg membrane being much stronger than a chicken's egg membrane so removing the shell and membrane without damaging the egg is a tad more difficult. But if a clumsy clod like me can do it I'm sure those more dexterous will have no issues.
These are absolutely gorgeous served at a dinner party as an appetiser, peeled and sitting up proudly in the colourful and fragrant Za'atar mix. Indeed the quantity given below is for dinner party appetisers. The yolk rich eggs really come into their own with the heady mix of spices and the floral marjoram. Sit back and watch your guests swoon at these tiny delicacies. The mix also works with chicken's eggs but due to their size, it's a bit more fiddly to eat so I wouldn't recommend them for dinner parties. With the quail's eggs it's a quick pop into the mouth.
Quail eggs with Za'atar
24 quail eggs
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon marjoram (fresh or dried, I have a small marjoram plant so I used fresh)
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Step 1 - Boil quail eggs for 4 minutes. Cool in cold water (it won't take long, they are very small) and peel
Step 2 - Mix all other ingredients in a bowl well.
Step 3 - Place eggs standing up on plated Za'atar mix
This is also my entry for the latest round of Monthly Mingle, an event started by Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey? it is being hosted this month by Mansi of Fun and Food who entered my Banana bread bake off. This month's theme is vegetarian appetisers or Hors'Doeuvres. Wish me luck! :)