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story.lead_photo.caption Deviled Quail Eggs - Photo by Kelly Brant

Quail eggs.

They're almost too cute to eat.

Almost.

These diminutive eggs are available at farmers markets and some specialty shops. I recently ordered them from Bushel and Peck Hobby Farm, through the Arkansas Local Food Network (littlerock.localfoodmarketplace.com).

Nutritionally speaking, quail eggs have slightly more protein per gram than chicken eggs, but they also have more calories, more fat and way more cholesterol.

One hundred grams of quail eggs (about 11 eggs) has about 160 calories, 13 grams protein, 11 grams fat and 844 mg cholesterol. One hundred grams of chicken eggs (about 2 large eggs) contains 145 calories, 12.5 grams protein, 9.5 grams fat and 372 mg cholesterol.

So go ahead, eat the whole dozen. It's OK. I did.

But the real appeal of quail eggs is their appearance. The tiny eggs -- each egg is about as big as the end of your thumb -- are ideal for hors d'oeuvres or any occasion that calls for tiny food -- little girls' tea parties or a baby shower come to mind.

So what can you make with quail eggs? Anything you can make with chicken eggs.

I opted for a deconstructed childhood favorite, Egg in a Basket (or Egg in a Hole as it is more commonly known) and deviled eggs.

I had some trouble cracking the eggs without breaking the yolks -- quail eggs have a thinner shell than chicken eggs but a much thicker membrane between the shell and the white. This means rather than cleanly cracking and breaking the shell into halves, you may have to "peel" the shell and membrane open.

I was worried this would make it difficult to peel and stuff the eggs, but the thick (read tough) membrane actually made peeling the cooked eggs easier.

Egg in a Basket is the one breakfast food I can remember my father cooking as I was growing up. I'm sure there were other egg dishes, but this is the one I remember. He would let me cut the circle from the bread using a snuff glass from his grandmother's kitchen. He manned the stove, cooking the egg and basket in a nonstick skillet, making sure to cook it so the white was set, but the golden orange yolk was still runny enough for me to sop up with the toasted and buttered cutout circle of bread.

For my quail eggs, I decided to serve the cooked eggs atop the cutouts. By using a 2-inch cutter I was able to squeeze two cutouts from each slice of bread.

Photo by Kelly Brant
Quail Egg Toast

Quail Eggs on Toast

3 slices soft white bread, toasted

6 quail eggs

1 to 2 pats butter

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Using a 2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 2 circles from each slice of bread; set aside.

Carefully crack each egg into its own ramekin, being careful not to break the yolk as you tear back the shell and membrane.

In a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Pour in the eggs (I cooked two at a time) and cook as desired. For firm white and runny yolks, cook eggs, covered with a lid, for about 2 minutes. For firm yolks, cook the eggs for 4 minutes. Carefully remove eggs to toast cutouts. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Makes 6 toasts.

Deviled Quail Eggs

6 quail eggs

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon mustard

1 teaspoon dill pickle relish with brine

Pinch onion powder

Pinch garlic powder

Salt and ground black pepper

Fresh snipped chives

Ground red pepper (cayenne) OR smoked paprika, for sprinkling

Have ready a bowl of ice and water.

Place quail eggs in a small saucepan. Add just enough cold water to cover. Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and let eggs stand 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to the ice water and let cool completely. Peel eggs. Depending on how the eggs were stored, the yolks may have settled in the narrow end of the egg. As you remove the shell, a bit of the white will probably come off at the point. Simply add this white to the yolks. Cut the peeled eggs in half (I found cutting them crosswise rather than lengthwise worked best) and place the yolks and top bits of white in a small bowl. Place the bottom whites on a serving plate.

Using a fork, thoroughly mash the yolks. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish, onion and garlic powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a small spoon, fill whites with yolk mixture. Alternately, spoon yolk mixture into a pastry bag or sandwich bag (snip off a corner) and pipe filling in to whites. Garnish with chives and sprinkle with red pepper.

Makes 6 deviled eggs.

Photo by Kelly Brant
Quail eggshells vary in color from white to blue to green with tan or brown spots.

Food on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Cute quail eggs can do anything a chicken's can

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