Quail eggs are the wondrous bite-size eggs that charm chefs, not only with their attractive speckled shells but their large yolks and distinctive flavour.
It's no wonder adding them to a dish adds instant charm and finesse in comparison to cumbersome and indistinct hen's eggs.
But the quail gives us more than aesthetic and gustatory goodness—it also offers more nutrients for our bodies than its clucking cousin. This is largely due to the fact that its eggs have a higher white-to-yolk ratio, and the yolk is the most nutrient-rich part of any egg. Ounce by ounce, quails eggs have twice as much riboflavin (vitamin B2), more than twice as much iron, and significantly more vitamin B12. Like hen’s eggs, they are also an excellent source of protein.
While most of our first inductions in the kitchen included learning how to boil a standard egg, given the size of these tiny beauties all those timings go out the window. So, how long does it take to hard boil a quail's egg?
As a general rule it takes two minutes to soft boil a quail egg, and just over that for hard boiled. Check here for a pictorial display of quail eggs boiled for different times!
How to Hard-Boil Quails' Eggs
1. Bring a pan of water up to the boil.
2. Just before it reaches boiling point carefully drop the quail eggs in.
3. Cook the eggs for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, remove and cool down in ice cold water.
4. When cool enough to handle, peel away the shell.
5. Rinse off the peeled eggs to remove any shell remains. Enjoy with a sprinkle of salt and a grind of pepper.
Or, you could always turn your quail eggs into delicious dinky scotch eggs and elevate a British favourite to some stunningly elegant finger food with this recipe from the Great British Chefs.
If you are casting around for even more ideas for quail eggs creations, and you have some lead time before your dish needs to be ready, try your hand at thousand-year-old quail eggs. Yes, the name of the dish is hyperbole, but it does take almost six weeks to make, so it’s not something you’ll be whipping up for a last-minute dinner party. The eggs are soaked in brine, aged in an airtight container, and served with pickled ginger and a pottage with bacon. If you’re put off by the idea of 'thousand-year-old' eggs, a better alternative is this recipe for pastry nests with stir-fried mushrooms and quails eggs.