Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Bacon and Eggs": Soft Poached Quail Eggs with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

What a week this has been! I've been so busy with all the happenings of my life that I haven't had any time to update on all the stuff I've cooked. I know you avid readers are raring for more food porn, and luckily I have a doozy of one coming up next. You'll be glad you waited. I made this dish on Sunday along with the aforementioned for two of my friends: Jorge and Alberto. This was the canapé I prepared for dinner.

The title of the recipe in the book is "Bacon and Eggs," -- Soft Poached Quail Eggs with Applewood-Smoked Bacon, a long name for a surprisingly simple recipe. It's one-bite and certainly not difficult to make. You can prepare two dozen of these very quickly and easily, and everyone will enjoy them.

The inspiration for the dish is a quail egg, a tiny, delicate egg (rich and delicious too, I might add). Unfortunately, my parents refuse to eat them due to their perception that they have high cholesterol levels. I did some research myself and debunked the myth they so adamantly believed.

According to this site, quail eggs have 76mg of cholesterol and 0.3gms of saturated fat (per 9mg egg). By comparison, a chicken egg has 201mg of cholesterol and 1.6gms of saturated fat (per 55 gm egg). The site also says that per 100 grams of each egg, quail eggs have about 839mg of cholesterol and 3.6gms of saturated fat, and chicken eggs have 548mg of cholesterol and 3.3gms of saturated fat. So maybe if I ate equal amounts of quail eggs in terms of weight to chicken eggs, it would be far unhealthier, but only ~50% more in terms of cholesterol and ~10% more in terms of saturated fat.

Assume an average chicken egg omelet is two eggs (110 gms). If you do the math, you would need 12 (!) quail eggs to make a similarly sized omelet. And this omelet would only have 50% more cholesterol and 10% more saturated fat than the chicken egg omelet. I think this is okay in terms of health precautions.

Anyway, back to the recipe. I first obtained some fresh quail eggs from a Chinese supermarket. After much adamant imploring (verging on begging), my parents got me a carton of them from Great Wall Supermarket in Queens. I had to ask them because the trip kills about half my day in terms of travel time. It's much easier to ask mom to grab a carton when she's coming over to visit me anyway (and they drive!). Here is one egg:

Aren't they pretty? I love them, and they are delicious soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, etc. I like to soft-boil them, cut them in half, and use them in salads.

First step, I cracked open the egg and put it in a tiny dish. The French Laundry cookbook instructed me to use a serated knife to cut the top off the egg and pour the egg from the shell into the simmering water to poach, but I thought that would be too difficult and I'm used to poaching eggs by sliding them gently into water from a dish. It worked either way.

I poached them in a tall pot of water. The book recommended six inches of depth.

I poached them for two minutes and removed them to an ice bath where they were chilled.

Here the egg is, poached. The poaching step is probably the hardest part of the recipe.

Next, I took a few slices of delicious, delicious bacon and cut them into 1/8 inch slivers. I fried these bacon bits for five minutes until they were nice and brown and crispy...

...and drained them on paper towels.

Next, I cooked the poached eggs in Beurre monté (basically melted butter that stays emulsified by whisking it with a little water) and Brunoise.

Finally, I served them on spoons. First, the quail egg, then the sauce and Brunoise, then the bacon bits on top.

They were delicious. I wish I had made more than four servings (my roommate's girlfriend ate the last one). I would definitely make this again as a simple canapé prefacing a dinner party. Even Alberto liked it, and he can be a very critical judge of food.

Check out Jorge's reaction to it:

That says it all.

Produce from Whole Foods
Quail eggs from Great Wall Supermarket
Bacon from Whole Foods

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm.. looks awesome! I want to try this recipe. Please send to me when you get a chance. Thx!