The key ingredient, apparently, in the recipe that looked so nice in the picture was a ready-made sauce I’d never heard of. There were no suggestions for substitutions. This is a foodie kind of town so I thoroughly expected to find the sauce. But two good groceries didn’t have it, and I finally Googled the ingredient and found one place in town that carried it. When I showed up at the address it was boarded up and two homeless men were curled up in their sleeping bags at the front door, like larvae.
It’s a foodie and homeless-man kind of town.
Somehow I tripped over an international market on my way back home and there, miraculously, was a jar of my ingredient on the shelf with the yak butter and ground beetle bits. I brought it home and eagerly started my recipe. The sauce was a component of a chicken marinade that ultimately, as it turned out, gets scraped off the chicken. I felt a little cheated. I’m never sure about marinades. Are they the ghosts of food? (Answer: No. You’re thinking of farts.)
So I looked for more recipes that use my Key Ingredient, and I found one. No problem!
Problem. The first ingredient on the recipe list: eight quail eggs.
Mind you, this wouldn’t have been a problem in the old days, when we lived across the street from Kevin and Scott and they kept quail chicks in their basement. When the quails got excited they made the most impressive gargly bugle like they were shaking a bag of marbleized loogies and that always got Dave excited too, and then he’d be out on the front porch gargling right back at them, at the top or possibly bottom of his lungs, and we outlasted all the neighbors who witnessed that so who cares what they thought?
The point being we had quail eggs right across the street. First time we went over there after they got the quail, Scott, who is a master chef, offered Dave a dozen eggs for breakfast and asked him how he wanted them cooked, and Dave said “over easy,” because for a big guy he can be a real little shit, and Scott calmly plated up twelve quail eggs over easy, because he has skills.
But we don’t have ready quail egg access now and I don’t know where you’re supposed to find them. Furthermore they are supposed to be hardboiled and presented alongside of the main course, peeled. Peeled. I can’t reliably peel a chicken egg without having it go lunar on me.
Fortunately, the recipe says the quail eggs are optional.
Unfortunately, one commenter complained that the whole recipe should be thrown out because the authentic version definitely calls for hummingbird eggs.
I’ve got limits. I only just learned how to skin a butternut squash and I ain’t peeling no dang hummingbird eggs. If I did manage to do it, I’d devil the suckers. They would be adorable. I’d serve them with spider drumsticks and a dandelion-sepal salad.