Quails’ egg ravioli

Adapted to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/quails_egg_ravioli_91589

This classic dish from Raymond Blanc is visually stunning. The textures are perfect and the flavours sophisticated yet comforting. The secret to success is to use the freshest eggs and to give yourself plenty of time.


For the spinach mixture
  • 800g/1lb 12oz spinach, stalks removed
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
To finish the spinach mixture
  • 20g/¾oz unsalted butter
  • 50g/2oz parmesan, finely grated
  • 4 pinches sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
  • 240ml/9fl oz good vegetable stock
For the pasta
  • 250g/9oz durum wheat ‘00” pasta flour
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 free-range eggs, as fresh as possible
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, as fresh as possible
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch saffron powder, soaked in 1 tbsp hot water (optional)
To assemble the ravioli
  • 8 quails’ eggs, poached in 500ml/18fl oz water and 1 tbsp vinegar for 30 seconds, refreshed in iced water and drained with a slotted spoon
For the garnish (optional)
  • 40g/1½oz spinach, cooked in a saucepan until wilted
  • 80g/3oz mushroom fricassée (see Top recipe tip below)
  • 20g/1oz small croutons
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and lightly crushed

Preparation method

  1. For the spinach mixture, mix the spinach, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic together in a large bowl.
  2. Heat a large pan over a high heat and add the seasoned spinach, stir with a wooden spoon for one minute or until the spinach has wilted. Place the wilted spinach into a colander and set aside until cooled, then squeeze out any excess water with your hands.
  3. Roughly chop the spinach and place in a clean bowl.
  4. To finish the spinach mixture, heat the butter in a small saucepan until it turns a pale hazelnut colour (this is called beurre noisette, do not allow the butter to burn or it will become bitter and carcinogenic.)
  5. Mix the beurre noisette, parmesan, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper into the spinach until well combined, then leave to chill in the fridge for one hour.
  6. Divide the mixture into eight portions, each about 40g/1½oz.
  7. Press each portion of the mixture tightly into the 4cm/1½in pastry cutter, pressing down the centre to create a well for the poached egg.
  8. Carefully remove the ring mould and repeat with the remaining spinach mixture.
  9. Place the moulded spinach shapes onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge overnight.
  10. For the sauce, heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until reduced in volume by one-qaurter
  11. For the pasta, place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix for one minute or until well blended.
  12. Knead the dough on a work surface for five minutes, or until it is very smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for one hour.
  13. Fix the pasta machine tightly to the side of a table. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a width slightly narrower than the width of the pasta machine and cut the dough in half.
  14. Take one half of the dough and roll it using the thickest setting on the pasta machine.
  15. Keeping the dough in the machine, press the two ends together to make a loop.
  16. Continue rolling until it reaches the thinnest setting on the machine, then remove the dough from the machine and set aside covered with a clean tea towel.
  17. Repeat the rolling with the other half of the dough.
  18. Cut the pasta into eight 6cm/2½in squares (for the bases) and eight 8cm /3¼in squares (for the tops).
  19. Layer the pasta squares on a tray, separated by sheets of cling film, and reserve in the fridge.
  20. To assemble the ravioli, place the small pasta squares on a sheet of greaseproof paper, place the moulded spinach shapes onto the middle of each pasta square and slip a poached quail egg into the well in the centre of each one.
  21. Drape the larger pasta squares over the top of the spinach and egg filling and press the pasta squares together to make a tight seal, expelling all the air as you do so. Take care not to stretch the pasta as it may tear and fill will water when you cook it.
  22. Using the 6cm/2½in pastry cutter, cut each ravioli into a circular shape, discarding the excess dough.
  23. Bring a large pan of water to a simmer and cook the ravioli for exactly four minutes.
  24. Meanwhile, gently re-heat the sauce. Dress the plates with the wilted spinach, mushroom fricassee and croutons.
  25. Place two ravioli on each plate, spoon the sauce around and sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts. 

    Live in Oxford, UK? You can buy local mushrooms from morelly mushrooms

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