Quail Egg Bruschetta

So I believe I’ve waxed eloquently often enough on the wonders that a lightly fried or poached egg can do for, well, many things. Bacon jam, toast and a poached egg? Pulled pork sandwich with a fried egg? Ramen soup with a hot-spring egg? Yes to all of these. I can keep going.

While I was at Sanyuanli market I picked up a bag full of quail eggs, since I’m a sucker for little things and I thought they’d make good tiny snacks over the week, but I didn’t want to just hard boil all of them. I made a nice light dinner out of a handful of garlic and butter sauteed shrimp, bacon and Brussels sprouts pan seared, and sunny-sie up quail eggs on truffle-oil brushed slices of baguette. Something very luxurious about just warmed and still runny yolk pouring over bacon fried sprouts and garlicky shrimp.

I had some people over for nibbles and drinks over the weekend, and decided that I should use the rest of the quail eggs. Frying the eggs seemed a little too tricky, they’re small and need a lot of acute attention, so I lightly poached them earlier in the day, kept the eggs in a bowl of water, lightly patted them dry and assembled the bruschetta shortly before the guests arrived. I blanched the thinnest stems of asparagus I could buy, sliced them, and laid them over lightly toasted baguette brushed with premium bottle of olive oil from Genoa, Italy (a Christmas gift quite carefully brought back in my overloaded suitcase).

Poaching quail eggs is simple and quick. I brought a pot of water to a boil with a generous splash of vinegar, and then turned the heat all the way down so there were no bubbles to disrupt the water. While it was heating up, I used a knife to open the tough little shells, and cracked each egg into small spice bowls. Stir the water in the pot to get a bit of a swirl, and gently deposit one egg into the middle. The swirling water will help the egg white stay together instead of spreading out into an amorphous blob of egg-tendrils. It should take about one minute for the egg white to set, then carefully lift the egg out with a slotted spoon, place in an bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, and continue with the rest of the eggs.

I hardboiled a few of them and sliced, since some people aren’t really fans of runny egg yolks (weird people with terrible taste, but that just means more for me). A few flakes of sea salt and a crack of black pepper on top finishes the bruschetta, and makes very dainty hors d’oeuvres.

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