This is my all time favourite starter. We made it for the first time on Boxing Day 2013 and its become a firm staple offering on the menu since.
Baked Quails Eggs make a fabulous comfort food, warm, sumptuous, creamy, rich but not overly so and nourishing. Basically there’s nothing not to like.
It makes a delicious starter served with a light green salad or some home-made bread.
- 70g of fresh spinach,
- 150ml double cream,
- one small packet of smoked Salmon (you need enough for one layer of salmon per ramekin dish),
- 50g Emmental cheese,
- 50g Gruyère cheese,
- Black pepper,
- 8 Quails Eggs, (2 per serving),
- finely grated parmesan cheese to top the ramekins off
Blanch the spinach off and divide it between four ramekin bowls.
On top of the spinach add one layer of smoked salmon, cut to fit and to cover the spinach completely.
Now make a cream cheese sauce by heating the cream through gently before adding the Emmental and Gruyère cheese and black pepper to taste, stirring until the cheese melts completely.
Pour the cheese sauce over the salmon being careful to leave sufficient room at the top of each dish to add two quails eggs and some parmesan cheese.
You can prepare the dish in advance to this point and leave it to one side until your guests arrive.
Crack two quails eggs into the top of each ramekin dish and sprinkle with finely grated parmesan cheese.
Slide the ramekins on to a baking tray and pop into a hot oven to bake. We use the top oven of the AGA. That will equate to about 250C, 480F or Gas 8 on conventional cookers – and you will want to pre-heat the oven. Thankfully with the AGA that bit isn’t necessary, which is just as well or we’d always be eating later than planned! It shouldn’t take very long, no more than 10 minutes at most, so keep an eye on it. You want to take them out when they are golden brown and bubbly on top.
A sharp well chilled white wine is good with this to cut through the richness. Serve with freshly baked bread and a green salad.
If you want some home-made bread to go with this, you could try one of these: