Polenta croutons with quail eggs, prosciutto and sage
Dainty yet exquisite, our distinctive quail eggs marry beautifully with the crunch of fried polenta and the herbaceous aroma of fresh sage in our Italian-inspired croutons. Perfect to serve with a dressed side salad or on its own, this crisp dish is a texture adventure, sure to delight at lunch or supper time.
Line a small roasting tray or baking dish with cling film. Place the stock into a medium sized saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the chopped thyme leaves then swiftly pour the quick cook polenta into the pan of hot stock and whisk well for a few minutes, until smooth.
Stir in the cheese and butter, then season well with salt and pepper, before pouring into the tray and allowing to cool at room temperature. Loosely cover and place the polenta into the fridge to set for 4 hours minimum, though overnight is best.
When you’re 30 minutes from serving, place a small pan of water on to heat and boil the quail eggs to your liking. Once cooked, cool the eggs in a bowl of iced water.
Take a small, round pastry cutter (approximately 1.5 cm) and cut rounds of polenta or simply use a knife to cut it into squares. Place the polenta shapes on a piece of baking paper and scatter over the 50g dry polenta, beforing rolling the pieces all over to coat.
Place a wok or deep pan with 5 inches of vegetable oil onto heat at 170ºC and prepare a plate lined with kitchen roll. When the oil is ready, carefully lower a few pieces at a time into the oil. Allow to fry for 1-2 minutes or until golden and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the circles and place onto the kitchen roll, then repeat until all are cooked.
Quickly drop the sage leaves into the hot oil and allow them to fry for a few seconds until crisp, but still green, and transfer to the lined plate.
Peel the eggs and slice in half. Tear the slices of prosciutto into bite-sized pieces and wrap each into a little rose. Dot a little chilli jam or saffron mayo onto each round, then top each with a prosciutto rose, half an egg and a crispy sage leaf.
Arrange on a board or platter and serve with a Hayman’s London Gin and Tonic for a fabulous soirée.
600ml hot stock
A few thyme sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
125g quick cook polenta
50g Parmesan, finely grated
A knob of unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
8 Clarence Court quail eggs
50g polenta, to coat the croutons
16 sage leaves
6 slices prosciutto
Chilli jam or saffron mayonnaise