With a new Pope elected and with some calm returned to the period before Easter, I thought I would publish something that is actually very easy to make and I hope it brings much happiness to you as a breakfast, light lunch or starter to a more elaborate dinner. Quail’s eggs are a bit difficult to get hold of in Pretoria, but here is a link to a reliable supplier in Pretoria. This recipe makes 6 portions, please note it is a cold dish. The recipe may sound intricate, but all the components can be made well in advance. If you have made it the day before, take all the components out of the fridge about two hours before serving to allow to reach room temperature. The whole dish will taste so much better at room temperature.
For those who may be wondering what the heck a “Feuillete” is, here is a short description: Feuillete roughly translates as ‘leaves’, represented in this dish by the layers of puff pastry.
- 24 Quails Eggs plus about 10 extra
- 400g Puff Pastry
- 1 Egg
- 350g White Button Mushrooms
- 40g Butter
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Chives to sprinkle
For the Tarragon Mayonnaise:
- 2 Egg Yolks (as fresh as possible)
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp Mashed Garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- Pinch of White Pepper
- 20g Tarragon Leaves, Finely Chopped
- 300ml Canola Oil
The Quails Eggs: Before we start a warning, these eggs are difficult, they have a tough membrane and to break through it you sometimes you break the egg, the reason for the extra eggs. Boil your water and once boiling dunk the eggs in the water for exactly 2 minutes, longer and they are blue, shorter and the whites are still runny and fragile. Once boiled for 2 minutes, remove and immediately drop them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Now comes a test of your patience, peel them and set aside.
To make the Feuillete: Preheat your oven to 180°C. Thaw your puff pastry according to the instructions on the pack. Unroll the pastry and with a pizza cutter cut 6 rectangles of 11cm x 5cm. Lightly brush with the beaten egg and bake in the oven until golden brown, puffed and crispy. Set aside.
To make the Mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms from any debris, don’t wash them under water, rather use a damp cloth and wipe them. If you have a food processor, give them a rough chop, transfer to a hot pan with the butter melted in it, season to taste and start to fry your mushrooms over high heat to remove all the moisture from it. You want a dry mushroom in order to prevent your Feuillete going soggy once you dish up. Set the mushroom aside to cool down.
To make the Mayonnaise: While your Feuilletes cool down, you can start to make the mayonnaise. Put all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Yes, I know, why would I stand a whisk like an idiot if there is a machine that can do it in half the time? Back to the recipe – once all is in the processor, mix well for about 30 seconds and then start to add the oil in a slow stream into the processor while running on high-speed. You mayonnaise should be thick and easy to put into a piping bag without it running out at the bottom. Once made, transfer about half into a piping bag and the other half into a sterilised bottle and into the fridge.
To Assemble your plates:
- Pipe a small circle of mayonnaise on the place and set a Feuillete on the mayonnaise on each plate. This is to avoid that your Feuillete will slide around when you present your dish to your guests.
- Then spread one heaped tablespoon of mushroom onto each Feuillete, but not to the edges.
- Using your piping bag, pipe three circles of mayonnaise unto the mushroom.
- Set a quail egg into each mayonnaise circle, break one egg open and place on the plate.
- Sprinkle the plate and eggs with some chives and serve!
- If you serve as a starter at dinner, a very light Pinot Noir goes well with this dish.