Surprising though it may be, pickled eggs only came into my life recently. I’ve seen those scary jars of fluorescent red pickled eggs at gas stations my whole life but had never even considered them actual food. I mean, the jars are always slightly dusty. Have you ever seen anyone actually buy one of those gas station pickled eggs? Are they even real?
Then we found some pickled quail eggs at Dorignac’s in Metairie, LA. Those tiny eggs were delicious. Spicy and salty with no scary food coloring and just the right amount of spice. We emptied two jars at one dinner party.
Then my husband comes home a few weeks ago to tell me that one of his co-workers was earning extra money raising quail, and did I want some eggs? Heck, yes! I had to try replicating those Cajun pickled quail eggs. He brought home two dozen eggs and I let them sit in the fridge for ten days to “loosen up”, so they’d be easier to peel. I boiled them and my friend volunteered to peel the tedious things. I mean really, what else can you do with quail eggs but pickle them? It takes a million to make egg salad and scrambled eggs. They’re entirely too delicate to make deviled eggs. But they’re perfect for pickling.
Cajun-style Spicy Pickled Quail Eggs
2 dozen quail eggs, at least a week old
1 1/2 c rice vinegar
1/4 c water
2 tsp cane syrup (I bet sorghum molasses would be an excellent substitute)
1 tbl whole peppercorns
1 tsp whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves
1 tsp chile flakes
2 sprays of green coriander seeds (substitute 1/2 tsp coriander seeds if your cilantro isn’t going to seed like mine)
scant tsp salt
Sterilize a pint jar.
Put eggs in a pan, cover with water. Bring a to slow boil, turn off and immediately drain the eggs and plunge them in ice water. If you cook the eggs too “hard” they’ll get rubbery in the brine. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, peel them carefully and set aside to cool and dry. (Don’t throw those shells away- add them to your compost bin.)
Combine rice vinegar through salt in a small pan and bring to a furious boil. Set aside and let cool.
Carefully pack the eggs in the clean jar. They won’t quite fill it up. Now strain the brine. Take out the bay leaves and coriander sprays (if used) and carefully poke them down among the eggs with a chopstick. Be careful not to break any of the eggs open, or the exposed yolk will make the brine murky (like mine!). Then pour the brine over until the eggs are completely covered, and finally scatter the remaining spices from the brine over the eggs with a spoon. Cap the jar tightly and gently shake to make sure the spices are distributed evenly. Store in the fridge for two weeks before eating.