Eggs for Easter

April 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

Two simple egg dishes for Easter. The first is a beautiful looking quail egg, pea and ham salad, the second a simple dish of baked eggs with cream and herbs.

They would work equally well as a starter before your Easter Sunday meal or as a lunch or supper dish.

Recipe for quail egg, pea and ham salad

This is hardly a recipe, more a culinary improvisation based on idea on the Ocado online grocery shopping website. I didn’t like the idea of hearty fried bacon in this delicate little salad so replaced it with slivers of ham. Airfreighted fresh peas and mangetout didn’t appeal either so I used lightly cooked British frozen peas which are sweet and good and bulked out the salad with some crisp Little Gem lettuce instead of the mangetout. I simplified the salad dressing too, making it light and lemony.

Ingredients

1 pack 10 quail eggs
2 generous handfuls frozen petit pois, cooked for 1 minute in boiling water and drained
4-6 slices Parma ham, torn into artful shreds
1 bag peashoots
2 little gem lettuces, washed and separated into individual leaves
For the dressing:
2-3 tablespoons of your favourite salad oil (olive, hazelnut or pistachio if you can get hold of it)
Generous squeeze of lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
snipped fresh soft herbs (optional)

Hardboil the quail eggs following the timings specified on the pack. Cool, peel and slice carefully in half lengthways.

Make the dressing in the usual way in a pretty serving bowl. Add the peas while still warm and leave to soak up the dressing for 5 minutes.

Then add the lettuce and peashoots and toss all together gently. Add a little more dressing if the salad needs it.

Strew the eggs and ham artfully over the top of the salad and your done.

Recipe for baked eggs in cream with fresh herbs

Otherwise known as Oeufs en Cocotte, a French classic. I use Julia Child’s instructions in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, a book I refer to very often (even before the film!).

For each serving

1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons double cream
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons mixed fresh parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon (use whatever combination you have to hand – I particularly like tarragon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

You will also need a ramekin for each person and a deep tray containing 3/4 inches simmering water. I use a loaf tin if I’m just cooking for one or two people.

Butter the ramekin saving a dot for later. Add 1 tablespoon cream, half your herbs and a little seasoning and set the ramekin in the simmering water over moderate heat. When the cream is hot, break your egg into it. Pour over the remaining tablespoon of cream, season and scatter over the remaining herbs. Top with the reserved dot of butter.

Place in the middle of a moderate oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The eggs are done when they are just set but will still tremble slightly.

Serve with fingers of your favourite lightly toasted bread to dip into the runny yolks and cream.

After such a light lunch, you will have plenty of room to tuck into your easter chocolate:

Happy Easter!

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