Quail eggs are very popular in México, and this is one of the most common ways of preparing them. They are often eaten during the cuaresma, or Lenten season, and make a nice appetizer or cocktail snack. If quail eggs are unavailable, the dish can also be made with chicken eggs. This recipe is adapted from Mexico’s Feasts of Life by Patricia Quintana. The jalapeños are my own addition, for chile loving friends.
- 3 dozen quail eggs or 1 dozen chicken eggs
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 small head garlic, cloves peeled
- 3 medium onions, peeled and sliced into thin crescents (“lunitas“)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2-3 sprigs fresh marjoram
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon allspice berries
- ½ pound carrots, peeled, sliced and coked until tender
- 1-2 fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and cut into strips (optional)
- salt to taste
- 4 ½ cups vinegar, reduced to 3 cups
Hard boil the eggs, about 6 minutes for quail eggs and 12 minutes for chicken eggs. Submerge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Peel the eggs.
In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the garlic cloves. When they are just turning golden, add the onions, herbs, spices, carrots, jalapeños, if using, and salt.
Stir in the vinegar and simmer for a half hour. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Add the eggs and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
Place the eggs and pickling liquid, including herbs, spices and vegetables, in a non-reactive container and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. They keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.