Saturday, February 06, 2010

Asparagus Salad with Celery Leaves, Quail Eggs, and Tarragon Vinaigrette (Page 64)

RECIPE #1093

  • Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Chris
  • Dining Companions: Emilee, Brian, Matty, and Sam
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I have had some trouble finding quail eggs, but the Whole Foods in Palo Alto had them, so I jumped at the chance to make this recipe! Chris and I started by boiling and peeling the quail eggs. Then I cut thin asparagus on a very sharp diagonal, and steamed it until just tender. I transferred the asparagus to ice water to stop the cooking, then I drained it. I whisked together white wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, dijon mustard, and safflower oil. Then I stirred in thin rings of shallot, chopped fresh tarragon, salt, and pepper to complete the dressing. We tossed the asparagus with pale green celery leaves, and half of the dressing. Chris arranged it on plates, then added the quail eggs, quartered. He drizzled some more vinaigrette on top, and sprinkled on some chopped tarragon. I liked this salad quite a lot. I had never used celery leaves as a salad green before, but paired with asparagus it really worked. There was a pronounced celery flavor, but it was balanced nicely by the mild flavor of the asparagus. The vinaigrette was also quite tasty. It had clear tarragon and mustard flavors -- it would be a versatile dressing for many types of salad. At first I thought the quail eggs were a little silly. They were relatively difficult to find, and it didn't seem worth it just for the novelty of having small eggs. I came around about the quail eggs though -- they did have a slightly different flavor to them than your typical chicken egg, and they were incredibly adorable on the salads! Overall I thought this salad was a success. No one disliked it although not everyone thought it was as impressive as I did. There was a comment that the salad was a little "girly." So maybe it's not the right salad for Superbowl Sunday, but it would be a lovely salad course for a fancy meal.

The recipe is here.

This is recipe number 1093 that I have made! That means (if I counted correctly that day more than 4 years ago when I went through the entire book and counted the number of recipes) that I have exactly 200 recipes left to make! It's an exciting milestone -- 200 seems like a very manageable number of recipe to make. I am now in a place where every time I make a big meal I feel like I am making a substantial dent in the recipes that I have left. And it's good, because I think if the end wasn't near, now would be the time that I would start to lose a little motivation. It is starting to get a lot harder to do everyday cooking from The Book. I would venture that of the 200 recipes left at least 100 of them are left because they contain something that is hard to find -- an ingredient, or a piece of equipment. This recipe, for instance, waited a long time to be made because I couldn't find quail eggs. Some recipes are left because I haven't found a way to get all the ingredients and equipment in one place. For instance, I need to make some Meyer lemon marmalade. I can find Meyer lemons in California, but my canning stuff is in Indiana. I have a similar problem involving a pizza stone, some clams, and a clam pizza recipe. At some point I will have to ship some equipment. Another fraction of the recipes are left because they are hugely time consuming. I have definitely gotten to a point where it is hard to flip through The Book at 3pm and pick out a couple recipes for dinner that night. Things require much more advance planning -- especially anything that is left that sounds tasty! But, now that the end is in sight I am motivated to get organized and make these last 200 recipes! I WILL finish this project in 2010!!


Anonymous said...

Peeled quail eggs are widely available at Asian grocery stores for about $2/can. No hassle in peeling those small quail eggs.

Teena said...

Thanks for the great suggestion!