Quail eggs with celery heart remoulade
Remoulade is a go-to dish regularly pulled from my bag of tricks. It sits somewhere between a dressing and a salad and can hold so many variations. Beetroot remoulade, sorrel remoulade, kohlrabi remoulade, and on it goes.
The parameters are effectively a raw shredded vegetable bound in loose mayonnaise. You can then spike it with condiments such as capers, anchovies, horseradish or olives to complement whatever you are serving it with. This is a basic version I love to eat with bread – it really celebrates the often overlooked flavour of celery.
Why quail eggs? I wouldn’t say there is a discernible difference in flavour from a quail egg to a chicken egg, but what they do bring to the party is the scale. Much like the delight you get from popping fish eggs, it makes for a different mouthful. I feel it justifies the tedious work required in peeling them.
Unfortunately my ultimate application of remoulade – park dining with a tin of anchovies or as part of lunch with friends – can’t be enjoyed at this time, so either try it with family, partners or housemates at home, or keep it in your arsenal for when life returns to normal. You can rely on remoulade.
- 1 head of celery
- 12 quail eggs
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp honey
- 30ml white wine vinegar
- 200ml grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- lemon juice (as needed)
- celery salt
- Strip the outer sticks from the celery until you are left with just the inside yellow stems. Cut the top off, leaving only the bottom third. Using a vegetable peeler, trim the root and then give it a good wash, ensuring you remove any dirt that might remain in the centre. Shave the celery lengthways on a mandolin or using a sturdy vegetable peeler and place it into a bowl, then season it lightly with salt and set aside.
- For the mayonnaise, crack six of the quail eggs into a handheld blender jug (a coffee mug would do), then add the mustard, honey, vinegar, grapeseed oil and some salt and pepper. Place the handheld blender into the jug and rest the blade on the bottom of the jug before starting it. Switch on and draw the blender up slowly through the oil, emulsifying as it moves up. Finish this with more salt and pepper as needed, then with the diced shallot. Pour this mayonnaise over the celery and adjust the consistency with lemon juice if needed, as the mayonnaise should only loosely bind to the celery heart.
- Boil the remaining six quail eggs in rapid boiling water for one-and-a-half to two minutes for a soft-boiled egg. Cool the eggs in cold water and crack the entire shell using the back of a spoon. Let the eggs sit in the cold water for a couple of minutes before peeling them.
- Divide the remoulade between two plates and nestle the quail eggs within. Finish with a big crack of pepper and some celery salt.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 18, 2020 as "Dressed up with no place to go".
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