Quail eggs Benedict tartlets

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 200 gm shortcrust pastry (see note)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
  • 18 quail eggs
  • 9 thin slices jamón Ibérico, halved (see note)
  • To serve: finely chopped chives
  •  
  • Hollandaise
  • 125 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 black peppercorn
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 egg yolks
  • To taste: lemon juice
01   Preheat oven to 220C. Roll out pastry to 3mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into rounds using a 4cm-diameter pastry cutter. Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray, prick the centre of each disc with the tines of a fork several times, brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown (5-10 minutes). Remove from oven and, while still warm, press lightly to flatten. Set aside.
02   For hollandaise, melt butter in a small saucepan, remove from heat and keep warm (it should remain at blood temperature). Meanwhile, simmer vinegar, shallot, peppercorn, bay leaf and 35ml water in a small saucepan over high heat until reduced by half. Strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature. Add egg yolks and whisk over a saucepan of gently simmering water until pale and creamy (4-6 minutes). Make sure you don’t let the mixture get too hot as it will curdle. Remove from heat and slowly ladle in butter, one ladle at a time, whisking vigorously until combined. Season to taste with sea salt and lemon juice and set aside in a warm place.
03   Bring a saucepan of salted water to a simmer over low-medium heat. Stir water to create a slow-moving whirlpool, then carefully crack quail eggs into water in batches. Cook until just set (2 minutes), then remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.
04   Place a folded piece of jamón on each pastry disc, top with a quail egg and spoon a little hollandaise over. Scatter with chives and serve immediately.
Note Russell Blaikie recommends sour cream shortcrust pastry by Carême, available from select delicatessens or substitute with another good-quality shortcrust pastry. Jamón Ibérico is available from Spanish delicatessens and select butchers.

Recipe:

RUSSELL BLAIKIE, MUST WINEBAR

Photography:

JASON LOUCAS

Styling:

LISA FEATHERBY AND GERALDINE MUNOZ

Drinking Suggestion:

CHAMPAGNE WILL CUT THROUGH THE RICHNESS OF EGG YOLK AND HOLLANDAISE – SOMETHING FRESH AND CRISP WITH GREAT ACIDITY AND STRUCTURE SUCH AS A BLANC DE BLANCS. , suggested by EMMA SPUTORE

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