Pickled Quail Eggs

August 4, 2006

Pickled Quail Eggs

Gourmet magazine, April 2004 (www.epicurious.com)

Kim Webb of Estancia Farm in Dragoon is now providing the TCSA with Japanese quail eggs. Quail eggs have all the nutrition of chicken eggs, but less cholesterol. In addition, Japanese quail mature faster, produce more eggs, and need far less food and
space than do chickens, making them a highly sustainable alternative to chickens. Quail eggs can be used exactly like chicken eggs, using 5 quail eggs in place of 1 large chicken egg. Because the eggs are so small, however, they are often pickled. Pickled eggs are good on their own as a snack or added to a salad. They go particularly well with bitter greens such as arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, and watercress. On their own, think of them as convenient little protein bombs to get you through those hours when it’s too early for a meal and you’re too busy to make yourself a serious snack. A neighbor of mine who is a cancer survivor seriously keeps a stash of these handy just for this purpose, when she is feeling fatigued and needs a quick, nutritious pick-me-up. The pickling recipe below using beets is particularly colorful and tasty, but you can find additional pickling recipes at the Washington State University Cooperative Extension (http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu) and in back issues of Mother Earth News (www.motherearthnews.com). ‑Christa

3 lbs. beets (8 medium, including greens), scrubbed and stems trimmed to 1-1/2 inches)

1 cup cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
5 whole cloves
24 or 25 quail eggs or 5 large chicken eggs

Cover beets with cold water by 1 inch in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer beets, partially covered with lid, until tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving beets for another use, then measure out 2 cups beet cooking liquid. Bring beet liquid to a boil in a small saucepan along with vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and cloves, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool pickling liquid completely, about 1 hour.

While pickling liquid cools, cover eggs with cold water by 1 inch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring gently (to help center the yolks in the eggs). Reduce heat and gently boil eggs, uncovered and undisturbed, 3 minutes (or 10 minutes for chicken eggs). Pour off water and shake pan so eggs hit each other, lightly cracking shells. Cover eggs with cold water and let stand 15 minutes (to stop cooking and facilitate peeling).

Drain and peel eggs, then transfer to a glass jar or deep bowl. Pour liquid over eggs. Let eggs pickle, covered, 24 hours. For best results, pickle eggs no longer than 24 hours: any longer, and the whites will become too rubbery and the
pickling liquid will seep into the yolks.

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