I bought quail eggs a couple of weeks ago at the market. I’m not sure why, I’d never cooked quail eggs before and had no idea what I was going to do with all 18 of them! So for the following few days, they sat in their perfectly speckled little shells on the kitchen bench, reminding me each time I passed that they would, at some point, need to be cooked.
Then I remembered a fiesta I went to in a little town called El Valle de Tabladillo in the province of Segovia in Spain. It’s a tiny town and all the locals gather in the middle of winter (when it’s absolutely freezing) to cook pork belly over an open fire, drink pints of calimocho (a mix of coke and red wine) and dance into the very early hours of the morning.
It was at these fiestas that I first saw quail eggs being cooked. They were served up on top of a slice of jamon that was draped over a piece of crusty white bread. And while I don’t really remember what they tasted like, I do remember how impressive they looked with their perfectly yellow little egg yolks popping out of the white.
So I’ve taken some Spanish inspiration for this recipe and served my quail eggs with chorizo and rosti, instead of bread. If you cook the quail eggs just right, the yolk becomes the sauce!
Mini potato rosti with chorizo and quail eggs
550g potatoes, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
35g butter, melted
Salt and pepper
18 quail eggs
2 fresh chorizos
Micro herbs to serve
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
For the rosti, saute the grated onion and minced garlic in a fry pan over medium heat until soft. Transfer to a bowl. Place the grated potato in a clean tea towel and squeeze to drain off excess liquid, then add to the bowl with the onion, melted butter and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix ingredients well. I grated the onion and potato in my food processor.
Heat oil in a fry pan over medium – high heat and place small spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the pan (as many as you can fit, leaving room to be able to turn them over). Flatten with a spatula and cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until nicely browned, turn over and cook the other side. Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding extra oil as needed.
As you cook the rostis, place them in your pre-heated oven for 8 – 10 minutes. This will crisp them up and ensure the potato is cooked through. Remove and place on paper towel to get rid of any excess oil.
Place the chorizo on a hot BBQ for 8 – 10 minutes or until cooked through. Slice diagonally and set aside.
For the quail eggs, tap each one with a sharp knife until it cracks open. Then very gently open and put the egg into a small dish. The membrane of the quail egg is quite tough so you need to take care when cracking the egg open or you’ll pierce the yolk.
Place the eggs (slowly) into a pre-heated fry pan with a drizzle of oil. Cook for approximately 1 – 1.5 minutes until the whites are cooked through and the yolk is slighter firmer. Set eggs aside on some paper towel as they cook. Repeat with all remaining eggs.
To assemble, place the chorizo on the rosti (I cut off any scraggly bits around the edges) and top with a quail egg and some micro herbs.