Mark Hix recipe: Quail's egg and asparagus broth

Serves 4

You often see cheap bunches of asparagus on sale at markets, and frequently there is nothing wrong with them at all – better some asparagus than none at all, I think.

One more thing: although poaching quail's eggs may seem like a culinary task that you don't even want to consider tackling – the fact is that, despite what you might think, it's actually pretty straightforward, so give it a go.

1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in a litre of boiling water
The woody ends from the asparagus, chopped, plus and any sub-standard spears
1 small leek, halved, roughly chopped and washed
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
10 black peppercorns
A handful of parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

12 quail's eggs
150ml white wine or cider vinegar
4-6 asparagus spears with the woody ends trimmed
½tbsp finely chopped chives
½tbsp chopped chervil

To make the stock, put all of the ingredients into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse.

Bring a pan with about half a litre of water to simmering point; meanwhile, put the vinegar into a bowl and carefully crack the quail's eggs with a small, sharp kitchen knife: use the point of the knife to initially crack open the shells. Have a bowl of cold water ready to transfer the eggs into once they are poached.

Pour the eggs and vinegar into the pan of simmering water and continue to simmer very gently for about 30 seconds, or until you can see the whites of the eggs have set. Take the eggs out using a slotted spoon and place into the bowl of cold water. After a minute, remove the eggs and put them on a plate, trim the white if necessary, and put them in a container of clean water.

When you are ready to serve, strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan, season to taste, and bring to a simmer. Thinly slice the asparagus on the angle and add to the broth, simmer for about 30 seconds, then add the herbs and remove from the heat. Place 3 quail's eggs into warmed soup bowls and carefully ladle the hot soup over the top and serve.

Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk