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Christmas Kitchen: Quails Eggs with Homemade Dipping Salts
So here it is, my last Christmas Kitchen, actually, last actual recipe of 2020! If, that is, we can call this simple assembly job of a New Years Eve canapé / drinks snack a recipe?
What many of you won’t know is that I became a food writer by accident. I was a fashion blogger, and living in London at the very start of peak fashion blogger meant that I covered fashion week a few times, and with it, went to lots of fashion week parties. This was just before the whole food and fashion working in synchronicity thing started to become a thing, so I don’t remember much about the food at these events except that there was VitaminWater. A whole load of VitaminWater, who were the sponsors. I drank a whole load of it, and I’m pretty sure I still don’t like it. Is VitaminWater still even a thing?
Anyway, I digress. There is one simple canapé I do remember absolutely wolfing down. Carried around the room was a simple platter of hard boiled, peeled quails eggs, with little platters of salt and freshly cracked pepper to dip them in. They were super addictive, and ever since I’ve wanted to re-create them for New Years Eve Drinks, going a little further with some flavoured dipping salts, rather than just plonking down the tub of French truffle salt I usually eat with my hard boiled eggs.
Here, we’re making a fresh parsley salt (but you could use any other soft herb) and a chipotle salt (but you could use any type of dried chilli flake) because I think red and green look festive, and because they’re what I’ve got to hand – the coriander did not arrive in the last food delivery and parsley and mint are the only herbs still growing in my kitchen window box with all the frost, and I just got the chipotle flakes (Barts do them) because of course I got a new Ottolenghi book for Christmas – but if you would rather treat this recipe as even more of an assembly job, just go with your favourite flavoured salt.
I’ve got two minor recipe notes for you here: regardless if you want to make your quails eggs with runny middles or hard (I did runny for these photos, but I actually prefer hard here as quail have very rich yolks) making sure they’re ice cold from the fridge before you peel them will turn peeling them from a chore into something that just takes a matter of moments.
My second note is that this recipe will make WAY more salt than you need, but it is the smallest amount I can get to work in a mini food processor. Keep the parsley salt in the fridge and use it in place of regular salt in any dish you’d usually garnish with parsley and it will be pretty great; keep the chipotle salt in an air tight jar and it is it’s own magical ingredient anywhere you’d use salt in Mexican cooking. So, so good.
Hard boiled quails eggs are served with homemade chipotle and parsley dipping salts for an easy and delicious festive canapé.
12 quails eggs
2 tbsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp roughly chopped parsley
1/2 tsp dried chipotle flakes
Cook the quails eggs in a pan of boiling water before plunging them into ice water. I find 2 1/2 minutes are great for soft middles, and 3 minutes for hard boiled.
Meanwhile, make the flavoured salts. First, blitz together 1 tbsp of the salt with the parsley in a mini chopper or food processor – I find I need to shake it while I blitz for an even salt. Wipe the processor clean with a piece of kitchen towel before blitzing the remaining tablespoon of salt with the dried chipotle flakes.
Make sure the quails eggs are completely cold (see above) before peeling and serving with the dipping salts.
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