Introduction: Deviled Quail Eggs
When you’re a kid and you first hear the phrase “deviled eggs,” you immediately think of something a bit scary. Of course, one quickly learns that a deviled egg is a delicious treat that seems to always make its appearance at family gatherings.
Deviled eggs (devilled for those in the UK) can also be called Russian eggs, stuffed eggs, or dressed eggs. The “deviled” refers to them being spicy – whether that’s with pepper, mustard, or garlic.
I’ve had them many different ways, but since we have an over abundance of quail eggs it was decided we should try deviling them. Now, this isn’t too far off from deviling chicken eggs, but there are some unique considerations when preparing a quail egg that made me think it was worth documenting our process.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
You'd be hard-pressed to find a simpler ingredients list:
- Quail eggs (we used 30)
- Salt and pepper
- Relish (we used Wickles Original Relish -- it's a little sweet and a little spicy)
- Any interesting spice mix (garlic salt, thyme, onion powder, you name it)
- Baking soda (used when boiling the eggs)
- Paprika (we used Penzy's Hungarian Style Half-sharp. Because the eggs are small, the little bit of kick from the paprika is much more noticeable)
- Pan for boiling the eggs
- Pastry bag with tip
- Fork or whisk
- Small lidded container
Step 2: Boiling the Eggs
Because the quail eggs are so small, they're more prone to over-cooking than a chicken egg. Also, if you raise your own quail (like we do) the eggs are probably super fresh which makes them harder to peel. The reason for this is simple: Older eggs have a higher alkalinity which makes the albumen (the egg white) less likely to stick to the inner shell membrane (that thin, papery, white film that is inside the egg shell) making them easier to peel. You can adjust for this pH difference by simply adding a half teaspoon of baking soda to your water. Some people find that this adds a little more of a sulfur taste to the eggs, but I haven't found this to be the case.
I set the water to boil, and once it's boiling I shuttle in the eggs with a slotted spoon.
I let the eggs boil for 3 minutes and then immediately remove them from the stove. I drain the water and fill the pan with ice and cold water. The eggs will sit in this while I pull them out to peel.
Step 3: Peel the Eggs
Believe it or not, I find quail eggs to be easier to peel than chicken eggs. The secret is to put a few eggs in a plastic container, add a little water, and shake. The peel comes right off!
After peeling, I give them a rinse and turn them out onto a paper towel.
Step 4: Split the Eggs
This is the easy part. Cut the eggs in half. Put the yolks in a bowl and put the yolks on a plate.
Step 5: Create the Filling
Put a spoon of mayo, some relish, and sprinkle liberally with your spices. You're going to mix these together with a fork. An electric mixer changes the texture of the yolks too much, but if you're doing a lot more than 30 eggs you may want to consider it.
Taste the mix and adjust as needed. This is where you get to decide what the final filling will be like.
Step 6: Pipe Filling Into Shells
If you place your pastry bag over a cup (speaking from experience, don't forget to put the tip in the bag BEFORE you fill it) it makes it a lot easier to add the filling. Pipe the filling onto the shells. You'll probably end up with a little extra. You can pipe this into a dish to serve with pita or chips.
If you have a reusable pastry bag, make sure you rinse it out immediately after piping. Dried egg yolk is almost impossible to clean up.
Step 7: Sprinkle the Paprika
Finally, dust the tops with some paprika and enjoy!