This Eggs Benedict recipe was inspired by my long time unfulfilled fascination with quail eggs. They are so little and beautiful; I’ve passed them by in the Asian grocery store so many times and thought about how I could use them. As it turns out, they taste just like regular chicken eggs; they are just small and beautiful. The outsides look like they have been splattered with ink. The insides are colored a robin’s egg blue. The egg is predominantly yolk, and it is delicious. Because of their small size, I used four eggs per serving. I found a recipe for quail eggs over yaki-onigiri which is a pan seared rice ball http://www.lafujimama.com/2010/04/quail-eggs-benedict-pagodas/ ; I immediately fell in love, particularly because she embraced blender hollandaise sauce, but I thought I could add a few little extra touches. As I mentioned, I used two eggs per yaki-onigiri, I added salmon, and made a wasabi hollandaise sauce. I also sprinkled toasted sesame seeds over the top of the finished dish. I served it with Japanese style cucumbers (my mom used to make them, and they were a childhood favorite). Bryan has now become an even greater fan of the Japanese style cucumbers. The cucumbers are worthy of their own post (soon to follow). The finished product, quail benedict with a side of cucumber salad was fantastic, but I’m not sure it’s something I would want to eat first thing in the morning (coming from someone who eats miso soup for breakfast) – it’s more of a late brunch type of meal. I loved the combination of rice, quail eggs, and salmon. I used smoked salmon (lox), but I think it might be even better with sushi grade salmon. Bryan said he liked it with the smoked salmon. The quail eggs can be challenging to break open. I searched the internet for advice and learned that, because of the tough membrane inside the shell, it is best to use a knife to cut the top off of the egg (similar to how you would cut open a soft boiled egg) and then pour out the egg into a ramekin. There are a few internet posts that describe the process, but I didn’t find any of them particularly helpful – I just bought extra eggs to experiment, but found that it wasn’t actually that difficult. I do recommend breaking the egg into a ramekin in case you do get some bits of shell – you can always pick them out by using the discarded shell. A note about the wasabi hollandaise – Bryan would have preferred more wasabi flavor, but he’s crazy like that, add more or less wasabi powder depending on your palette. This recipe serves 2, but there is enough hollandaise to serve 4 – just increase the amount of rice, salmon, and quail eggs.
- 8 Quail Eggs
- 2 Cups of Prepared Sushi Rice (follow instructions for sushi rice, but typically, 1 1/4 Cups of water to 1 Cup of rice – using stovetop method)
- 4 Slices of Smoked Salmon or Sushi Grade Salmon – thinly sliced
- 1 TBS. Sesame Seeds – toasted in a dry pan
- 1 tsp. chopped Chives
- 4 Shitake Mushrooms – thinly sliced
- 2 TBS. Sesame Oil
- 2 TBS. Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce * See below
Prepare the sushi rice according to the package and allow to cool to room temperature. Make the hollandaise sauce and stir in wasabi powder to taste. Line a 1/2 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap – add water and drain off the water so that the plastic wrap is just coated with water. Sprinkle with salt. Add rice to measuring cup and remove the rice in plastic wrap. Firmly press rice together and mold so that it is a flattened ball shape. Remove rice ball from plastic wrap and set aside. Repeat until you have 4 rice balls. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 1/2 TBS. of Sesame Oil over high heat. Add rice balls to pan and brown; flip and brown on the other side. As the rice heats through, it will start to fall apart, so be careful not to cook for too long. Set grilled rice balls (yaki-onigiri) aside. Add remaining sesame oil to pan and stir fry shitake mushrooms until tender; set aside.Fill a medium sized saucepan about 1/2 way full with water and add rice wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, crack quail eggs into individual ramekins. When water begins to boil, stir quickly in clockwise motion to create a “vortex”. Add quail egg to the center of the vortex and cook for about 2 minutes (until yolk reaches desired doneness). Repeat with remaining eggs. (You can cook more than one egg at a time, but they don’t turn out as well). Plate the rice balls, top with sauteed shitake mushrooms, add two poached quail eggs, drizzle with wasabi hollandaise sauce, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives.
For the Hollandaise Sauce:
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 2 TBS. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 3/4 – 1 tsp. Wasabi Powder
Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in a blender; blend until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter until bubbling, but do not allow to burn.With the lid on, turn the blender to medium speed; remove the blender lid insert, and, in a slow, steady stream, add butter to blender. It is important that the hot butter be added slowly so that it cooks the eggs in the sauce. After hollandaise sauce is blended, add desired amount of wasabi powder and blend again. Taste and add more wasabi powder if desired.
* You may find that the blending sauce splatter; I recommend placing your blender in an area of the kitchen that is easy to clean.