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Cracking quail eggs

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While I've used the canned quail eggs a number of times, this was the first time I bought fresh ones. Intending to use them as a decorative topping on a SE Asian inspired coconut soup, I fried them. But I only managed to keep 2 of the 5 yolks whole. The membrane under the shell was a lot tougher than I expected. I'd crack the shell, and end up peeling little bits of shell off the membrane, as though it was already cooked.

Any suggestions on how do a better job?

So far I"ve concluded it is best to break the shell by tapping on the sharp edge of a pan or cup. The flat or rounded edge that is often recommended for chicken eggs cracks the shell but does nothing to the membrane. A sharp knife edge might also work if I could limit the depth of the cut.

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  1. paul, i'm not an expert on this, but eggs can be very different, can't they? guinea eggs' shells are next to concrete... and quail eggs are dicey. i have a set of nesting mixing bowls with wide flange edges against which i can crack an egg successfully so long as my 'aim' is right. quail eggs are so small and seemingly fragile. then you have to gauge the age of the eggs. it makes a difference! i assume you're buying them fresh in asian markets.... try possibly holding the back of a decently weighted table knife against your cutting board with one hand and 'popping' the things against the back edge of the blade. best suggestion i can come up with. hope it helps. all my quail eggs go to the hatchery. oh, oh, oh, try a google on quail farms, hatcheries, or better yet, an association of quail producers. or quail unlimited, QU.org. see what they say.... best of luck. lil

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    1. re: lil magill

      We are fortunate to have a quail operation down the road and use them all the time....somewhere on this site I gave a detailed explanation of what we do to crack them, mostly, without breaking the yolk....but in short form, use a small sharp knife and a quick hit on the "fatter" end about 1/3 of the way from the end. Try to hit it so cut through about half the width of the egg. You have to do this to get through the sac inside. With a bit of practice, it works well. Not nearly as hard as the description suggests! We sometimes do 40 fried eggs at a shot for our kids and friends when they have sleepovers...

    2. I use a yanagiba, and make what my daughter would call a 'ninja cut'. Essentially, you hold the egg vertically, and, as if you were wielding a very tiny samurai sword, swiftly swing the knife blade *through* the egg so the tip slashes the egg to a depth of about an eighth of an inch. You really have to swing through it, tho, or you'll end up with a mangled egg.

      It takes a little practice, and a LOT of faith.