scotch quail eggs

hey friends. i’m back from ticino (southern part of switzerland)! we went there yesterday for a short two days (or one night), to help my family move part of the former home. apart from some exhausting back and forth packing and unpacking, i tried to enjoy the time off. the italianità is really contagious; it catches you within a few seconds only. it was good to soak up the sun for just a little while, sniff some spring like air, actually see some palm trees and change the current perspectives… now i’m back home, drinking tea, reading food magazines (i already found some nice easter recipes) and thinking about the next supper club event… 
here’s another dish from the last one, ‘spring awakening’, that was served as an amuse bouche. i learned how to make those scotch quail eggs at ‘the modern pantry’ in london (i actually made about 200 of these one day, i was dreaming quail egg dreams for over a week after that…) and since i’ve always wanted to incorporate them into some menu. they’re really quite surprising, both in the looks and in the taste department.
scotch quail eggs

12 quail eggs
500 g merguez sausage, other sausage meat or lamb mince
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. black mustard seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 slice toast bread, soaked in milk
1/2 cup milk (to soak the bread)
fleur de sel, pepper
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups panko (or, in case you don’t find any, use crumbed cornflakes)
1 liter vegetable oil, suitable for deep frying 
bring water to a boil, then cook the quail eggs 3 or 4 at a time for exactly 2.5 minutes. drain the quail eggs and cool in ice cold water until cool peel the eggs, then store in water until later use. in the meantime, prepare the merguez coat. 
chop the bread very finely, then soak it in some milk. process the merguez in a food processor until finely minced. heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then sweat the onion and garlic together with the fennel and mustard seeds and paprika. fry until the onion is translucent, put aside and let cool. combine the meat, onion and spice mix and the bread. knead with your hands to a homogenous, shapeable mixture. 
now, take a golf ball size of the merguez mixture with your wet hands, and press it flat in your palm. place a quail egg in the middle, then close the merguez mix around the egg, pressing gently, being careful not to crush the quail egg. put aside and continue one by one. heat the oil in a steep saucepan. 
now on to the breading. prepare three plates; place the flour in one and season with a bit of salt and pepper, stir the eggs with a fork in another and the panko or crumbed cornflakes in the third. start by rolling each scotch egg in flour, then turn it in the eggs liquid until well coated. then coat in the cornflakes crumbs. when done, test the oil for hotness: when a bread crumb sizzles nicely in it, the heat is good. deep fry each egg individually for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. remove with a sieve and place on kitchen paper to remove the excess fat. cut into half with a very sharp knife and either serve warm right away or cold. 
to serve, place the halved scotch egg on a few leafy greens (i used common watercress) and adorn with some seasonal accents; like finely chopped radishes and edible flowers and a little vinaigrette. it
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