The Local Food Report: Quail eggs & toast

Quail may look feisty, but according to Orleans dentist Ben Chung, they're calm enough to make good neighbors. With controversies erupting in some towns over the right to keep backyard livestock, Chung is lucky his layers are so friendly.

Beyond good humor, the birds boast another asset: good eggs. Though little larger than a cherry tomato in size, the large-yolked eggs pack a punch, flavor wise, and are considered a delicacy in many countries.

At my house, the favorite way to eat them is fried up alongside a piece of homemade toast, or hard-boiled as a delicate snack. Either way, we can easily eat a half dozen at a sitting—it takes 6 or so to cover a piece of toast.

Recently, I tried them in a twist on the more traditional chicken egg hole-in-the-wall breakfast. Creating four tiny holes in a piece of just toasted anadama bread, I threw it into a hot pan and cracked four quail eggs into the ragged gaps. In moments I had flipped it, eggs firm and toast crackling, and allowed the other side to warm. On the plate, I crumbled a bit of chevre over top, and layered on a few slices of tomato. With a dash of salt and pepper, it made an excellent start to the day, in miniature.

HOLE IN THE WALL QUAIL EGGS, with chevre and tomato

Serves one

Toast 1 slice bread. Cut 4 bottlecap-sized holes in each quarter of the bread, and place the slice in a pan over medium heat with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter. Crack 4 quail eggs into the 4 holes, and let cook until eggs are firm on bottom. Flip, adding an additional 1/2 tablespoon butter if needed, and cook until eggs are done to taste. Serve warm with a layer of crumbled chevre and several slices tomato, with salt and pepper to taste.

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Anonymous said...

Hello -

I found you in Edible Cape Cod and wonder if you can help me find Eastham turnips - we spend weekends on the cape in the fall and I always got them at a little farm stand on Route 6 just north of Eastham -

however in the last couple of years they have not been there -
hope you can help me find them again -

many thanks -


Anonymous said...

hello betsy,
i am not elspeth, but the easiest place to find eastham turnip is at phoenix produce in orleans. they will have a solid supply, once they are harvested.

Elspeth said...

Hi Betsy:

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, but I knew that you'd be in good hands. I don't know exactly what time of year you come, but I did find the turnips in Eastham last year. Perhaps you didn't overlap...

If you're ever interested in some real turnip fun, you can time your visit to coincide with the Eastham Turnip Festival, held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There are plenty of turnips, lots of dish tasting, and even turnip bowling...not to be missed!


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