I love shopping for food. Usually go grocery shopping most days of the week. Typically, I start with a recipe, and then get the requisite ingredients; sometimes, I find an ingredient that inspires me and build upon that. This is usually the case when the farmers’ market is in season; see what’s available that day, and then create meals based on what looks and tastes best. Only 52 days [and eagerly counting] until the first outdoor farmers’ market — cannot wait for spring peas, asparagus, fava beans [yum], ramps [double yum], morels….

Last weekend, made a trip to one of my favorite Korean grocery stores, H Mart. Picked up sea urchin and clams for a pasta dish, along with an assortment of Asian greens, oyster mushrooms, and a couple other finds. Then I spotted quail eggs, and had to get them. So incredibly cute; like miniature dinosaur eggs, or at least what I would expect a dinosaur egg to look like.

That just made me think of an episode of 60 Minutes I saw a few months ago. According to paleontologist Jack Horner [upon whom the main character in Jurasiac Park was based], chickens evolved from dinosaurs. Horner has plans to reverse engineer a dino-chicken within the next five years — Chickenosaurus Rex — really?!?
Hmm, what to do with quail eggs? They taste like chicken eggs, just smaller in size. Then the idea hit me…salmon tartare [with some avocado, ponzu sauce, chives, sesame seeds, and quail egg to bind it all together] with wonton wrapper crisps. Simple and delicious. And for those of you who don’t like labor intensive dishes, this is the perfect recipe, as it requires just a bit of chopping and mixing.

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Salmon Tartare

1/2 pound wild sockeye salmon, skin and pin bones removed
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ponzu (recipe below)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 quail egg yolk
Squeeze of lemon
Sweet fish roe for garnish
Sesame seeds for garnish

Chop salmon into small dice-sized pieces. In a bowl, mix the chives, cilantro, olive oil, ponzu, and lemon. Fold in the salmon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the sliced avocado on a plate. Place the salmon on top of the avocado. Form a small hole for the quail egg. Crack the quail egg on top of the salmon. Garnish with fish roe, cilantro, chives, sesame seeds, and the wonton wrappers. Drizzle some ponzu over the salmon.

Mix the egg in with the salmon until well combined. Enjoy with some wonton crisps.


1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/6 cup lime juice
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup mirin
1 2-inch piece kombu
1/4 cup bonito flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight. Strain. Just before using, you might add a small squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice. Cover and refrigerate. Will keep for at least several days.

Note: Ponzu is also a great base for a vinaigrette. Just add equal parts of ponzu to olive oil (5 tablespoons of each), a teaspoon of finely grated ginger, and 1 large clove of garlic (smashed with sea salt) and some freshly ground black pepper; makes about 1/2 cup dressing and is perfect with salad greens.

Wonton Wrapper Crisps

Wonton wrappers
Sesame seeds or gomasio (mixture of sesame seeds, sea salt, and seaweed)Olive oil for brushing
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut wonton wrappers in half on a diagonal. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lightly oil the foil. Place the wonton wrapper halves on the foil. Lightly brush the tops of the wonton wrappers with oil. Sprinkle with sesame flakes or gomasio and freshly ground pepper.

Bake in the oven for 3 minutes, rotate and bake another 3 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.

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