Quail eggs with hazelnut dukkah and herbs

Quail eggs with hazelnut dukkah and herbs
Quail eggs with hazelnut dukkah and herbs Photo: Marina Oliphant
Dietary
Vegetarian

Any version of the groaning board - by which I mean plenty of food laid out in an attractive manner - speaks of generosity and hospitality.

Ingredients

12 quail eggs or 4 bantam eggs

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp chopped mint

1 clove garlic

Dukkah (This will make more than is needed for this dish but the rest can be stored in a screw-top jar. It is difficult to make much less)

25g hazelnuts

50g sesame seeds

25g coriander seeds

sea salt

pepper

Method

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil and lower in the eggs. Simmer for 5 minutes (quail eggs) or 8 minutes (bantam eggs). Drain and immediately crumple the shells of the quail eggs with light pressure of your hands. Tap the shells of the bantam eggs to allow air to get in under the membrane. This makes the eggs easier to shell later on. Leave to cool.

Mix the chopped herbs together. Chop the garlic very finely and mix with the herbs.

To make dukkah

Heat oven to 180C and roast the hazelnuts until pale golden. Rub in a clean tea-towel to remove most of the brown skins. Chop coarsely or process for a few seconds only and tip into a bowl.

In a small non-stick frying pan, toast the sesame seeds, stirring with a wooden spoon until golden. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind just a little. Tip the crushed seeds into the bowl with the hazelnuts.

Wipe out the pan and dry-toast the coriander seeds. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind coarsely. Combine with sesame seeds and hazelnuts.

Mix half of the seed-nut mixture with the herb and garlic mixture. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Store remaining dukkah in a screw-top jar for another day.

Peel the eggs. (Quail eggs have a very tough membrane under the shell so be patient. Once you have pierced this membrane the shell will peel away very easily). Brush the eggs with the olive oil and halve lengthwise. Brush the cut side of the eggs with a little olive oil to prevent the surface from drying. Roll the eggs thickly in the herb and seed mixture and arrange on a shallow plate.