There are curious little facts about quail eggs that you should consider if you ever happen upon them and would like to explore their possibilities. Given their diminutive size, one is inclined not to use great force to crack them open when the objective is to keep the yolk intact. While I used great care in the cracking, the shell shattered in the same way a hard-boiled egg would, like a plate glass re-inforced window with a web of concentric breaks but no real breach. This puzzled me to the point where I started to suspect they were, unbeknownst to me, already hard-boiled or were actually solid chocolate Easter egg escapees masquerading as poultry and hiding out in the produce section of Whole Foods.
Upon closer investigation and after a gentle shake that wouldn't even register .01 on the Richter Scale, I found that the egg's vulnerable raw yolk and white were surrounded by an unusually thick membrane, necessitating the delicate surgical procedure of slipping a stiletto-sharp tip of a knife into the top third of the membrane in order to expose the raw center. After all this fuss, I carefully propped them up in a towel while I set a small skillet over a very low flame for a simple recipe adapted from Food Down Under:
Quail Eggs with Black Sesame Seeds and Sea Salt
2 quail eggs per person as an appetizer, 6 per person as a breakfast
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Scallion slivers for garnish (optional)
Heat sesame oil in skillet over low flame. Gently pry open the eggs where you have cut the membrane and drop into skillet. You may be charmed to notice that the inside walls of the shells are of the palest natural blue.
The eggs, with yolks barely the size of a quarter coin, cook very fast. Turn off the heat and watch for the whites setting and the yolks rising (approximately 3 minutes). Remove from skillet to plate, scattering sesame seeds and a few cranks of sea salt over the eggs and plate. Garnish with scallion slivers if desired.
My curiosity, by the way, is satisfied. While quail eggs are remarkably adorable, full of unusual discoveries and lend themselves to easy artistic arrangement, they essentially tasted like hen eggs for all their pomp and circumstance. Now, let's see, there must be a leftover chocolate Easter egg around here somewhere...