>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What an over-elaborate title. It sounds like Haute Cuisine and I tell you: it isn't. I'm just updating a very, very traditional Spanish dish, huevos al plato, meaning eggs cooked on a plate. But this time, instead of using chicken eggs on a plate or earthenware cazuela, I've reduced the size of the dish to make it a tapa and used quail eggs on a tartlet. Which means they are not huevos al plato, but huevos a la tartaleta... never mind, I'm not a purist. I hope you're not either...
Huevos al plato were a very typical dish at home when I was a child. Well, at least it was very typical among the household adults, because my sister and I wouldn't consent to trying something soooo very different, almost opposite, to the fried eggs and tomato sauce we loved... Now that I've become more mature (¿?) I thought it'd be a good idea to "revisit" this almost historical dish to turn it into a miniature plate, a two-bite-sized tapa. I don't believe I'm the first to do such a thing with huevos al plato, I'm sure it's been done before. But I don't give a damn. This time I chose to make the pastry dough with buckwheat for a change, you know I love to use less-common flours.
Quail eggs on buckwheat tartlets
Huevos al plato, per tartlet:
Start by making the pastry dough. I adapted my usual pastry dough recipe by substituting half the amount buckwheat flour for half all-purpose flour. Mix the flours and the salt and add the diced cold butter. Mix the butter in the flour either by rubbing with the tip of your fingers or with a mixer, till you obtain a sandy-crumbly mixture. Then add the cold water and knead by hand or with a mixer just until the water is thoroughly incorporated and the dough forms a ball. Don't overprocess. Butter and flour the molds you're going to use (mine are around 7cm in size). Roll out the dough to an approximate thickness of 2mm, and line the molds. Be careful as this dough is not as elastic as an all-wheat dough. Once the molds are lined I usually put them in the freezer for the dough to freeze lightly (small size tartlets freeze very quickly). This prevents the dough from bubbling when blank-baked, you don't even need to prick it with a fork. This trick works for me.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Blank-bake the tartlets for 10 minutes, enough for the dough surface to seal. Take the molds out and leave them to cool a little, so that you don't burn yourself. Lay the filling by spreading a teaspoon of tomato sauce on the base, then carefully crack one egg and lastly sprinkle the previously boiled peas and the Spanish jamón or chorizo, uncooked.
Put the filled molds into the oven. The tartlets don't need much time to get cooked, but it really depends on the oven; mine took around 10 minutes. The perfect outcome is a thoroughly hard white with a liquid yolk... but it's tricky to get with such small eggs. My eggs were hard all over, grrrr. I made a second batch where I separated the yolks (tricky stuff!) and put them aside, then cook the yolk-less tartlets, only to add the yolks for a final 2 minute cooking. Well, maybe you don't care about hard yolks, but I do. I prefer them liquid, so that their juices spread when you bite and drip down your chin... ahem... yum. Despite all imperfections, D. loved the tartlets... and me too... with a tasty red wine... they make for a very traditional appetizer. (Why is it that I almost always finish my posts with a drink?)