A Little Word on Eggs in a Nest

Happy Easter!

Spring is definitely, finally here. It’s been a beautiful weekend, and I’ve had too much fun walking to markets and grocery stores, tasting the new spring produce and getting my hands into some unusual products.

Little Word Bites was founded with a particular fondness for miniature, perfectly composed little bites. The idea that something small can encompass big flavor, that one little bite can be just as delicious, if not more, than a big one is the philosophy in my kitchen. Making small, healthy, low-calorie meals with as much flavor and punch as big hearty ones has always been my driving goal.

And so what could be more enticing, particularly on an Easter Sunday with Boston overrun by small children searching for Easter eggs, than a carton of tiny, bite-sized quail eggs?

These eggs might be a quarter of the size of chicken eggs, but they're packed with rich yolky flavor, and contain only 15 calories each.

These eggs might be a quarter of the size of chicken eggs, but they’re packed with rich yolky flavor, and contain only 15 calories each.

Often considered a delicacy, I spotted these speckled eggs in the Chinatown supermarket I first visited last week. About 1/4 the size of a chicken egg, this mini version is a fantastic find for someone who likes making small, healthy meals. One quail egg contains about 15 calories – meaning you would need to eat five in order to reach the caloric content found in an extra large chicken egg. The taste is extremely similar, but a slightly higher yolk to white ratio makes them slightly creamier in taste.

Quail eggs are frequently soft-boiled, or hard-boiled and served as a garnish. But today, I wanted to showcase egg by frying it sunny-side up. To complete this dish, I sought out some fresh asparagus from Haymarket. Asparagus is in its prime now, and I can’t miss the opportunity to miss this fantastic vegetable while it’s at its best.

To prepare my Easter Sunday Eggs in a Nest, I halved thin asparagus stalks. I roasted them for 15 minutes at 450 degrees with a little spray butter, salt, pepper, and fresh chopped garlic.

These thin spears were easy to halve, but for thicker stalks, a vegetable peeler is a great way to get thin asparagus strips for your nest.

These thin spears were easy to halve, but for thicker stalks, a vegetable peeler is a great way to get thin asparagus strips for your nest.

Simultaneously, I fried the quail eggs in a pan on low heat.

A Little Warning: The membrane beneath the shell on a quail egg is noticeabley thicker than that of a chicken egg, making it harder to crack cleanly. While I found it most effective to crack the shell on the edge of the pan and tear the membrane with my finger, many people recommend purchasing a pair of shell cutters to more easily maneuver around the tiny egg. 

Once the asparagus was cooked through – was soft and sweet with a slight char on the tips – I wrapped the spears into a nest, and filled the nest with a mix of baby spinach, baby kale, and baby chard (keeping with the miniature theme, of course.) I cooked the eggs until the whites had cooked through.

I plated the eggs inside the nest, and topped with the roasted garlic from the asparagus, and some grated parmesan cheese.

When the yolks are broken and mix with the parmesan, roasted garlic, and cracked black pepper, you have a creamy dressing for your baby greens and asparagus.

When the yolks are broken and mix with the parmesan, roasted garlic, and cracked black pepper, you have a creamy dressing for your baby greens and asparagus.

The final product was a light, seasonal breakfast – full of protein, rich in flavor, but still healthy. Using greens and fresh vegetables instead of toast or starch made this version of eggs in a nest significantly lower in fat, calories, and carbohydrates than one with a tradtional basket of potato or hollowed-out toast.

After such a healthy start to the day, I’m looking more forward to half-priced Cadbury creme eggs and malted robin eggs at the convenience store tomorrow.

Have a great suggestion for how to use quail eggs? Leave your comments, tweet me, or take a picture on Instagram #littlewordbites. I’d love some creative suggestions for what to do with the rest of these little guys!

Until next time, happy easter, happy spring, and happy (egg) hunting.

-Melanie

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