Quail Eggs & Chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans)

I was shopping at our local farmers market looking for inspiration for a small gathering at our home that evening, when I discovered some real gems. I’ve learned the hard way that before I stop and shop at ANY booths, I always walk the market in its entirety and take a close look at all of the offerings. This way you avoid the disappointment of stumbling upon fresher produce after you’ve already purchased: buyers remorse.

While making my rounds I came across the first gem of a find: some tied bundles of freshly cut chickpea plants. I became VERY excited. I love to serve new and unusual things to our guests and these little orbs certainly fit that bill. I’ve never prepared chickpeas in their pod before, so this was going to be a nice lesson for me, too.

Fresh quail eggs were the second gem of a find. In my humble opinion, quail eggs are a work of art. I just love putting out a clutch of these beautifully speckled eggs. It makes me happy.

Both of these items are easy peasy lemon squeezy to make. Let’s start with the chickpeas. First, you have to pick each and every precious little pod off the plant. Then you line a baking pan with aluminum foil and drizzle EVOO over them. Now season them with sea salt/pepper and rub them all together so each pod has some EVOO and seasoning on its skin. Bake at 400 until the garbanzo bean inside is al dente, or softer. Timing depends upon how firm/soft you like your bean. Peel back your foil and test them occasionally until you get your preferred consistency.

Make a chickpea burrito with your aluminum foil.

Al dente beans.

Ready for consumption.

I boiled my quail eggs just like I boil hen eggs: in water with a touch of white vinegar. Unlike hen eggs, however, I didn’t boil them for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes I pulled the beauties from the boiling water and plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking. The yolks were perfectly yellow. Sadly, I neglected to get a photo of the peeled eggs. I didn’t want to harass my guests by pulling out the camera while they were trying to eat their meals.

Sliced heirloom tomatoes, feta, fresh basil, quality EVOO, and balsamic vinegar with cooked quail eggs in a nest of micro-arugula. This made for a yummy salad course!

Breakfast radishes from the farmers market with butter and Maldon sea salt. The tomato and quail egg salad were the first course. The chickpeas and radishes were an appetizer.

Another appetizer. This one is made of fresh figs from the farmers market. I wrapped them in pancetta, roasted them, and added gorgonzola cheese during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.

Ready for our guests!

The main course was a tomatillo and papaya salsa, ancho and chipotle chili pepper marinaded chicken kebabs, and rice with black beans. I’ll post these recipes in next weeks blog.

Eat well!