Dinner tonight was a real French bistro meal. Fried quail eggs with runny yolks atop a salad of mixed greens dressed in a fig vinaigrette with some blackberries and raspberries. A couple of slices of toasted buttered baguette and dinner was ready!
This dinner was very special tonight because of the story of my quail eggs which had their start over 300 miles from here in Providence, Rhode Island.
There was another fun gathering of personal chefs, this time in Providence. On Saturday morning, we did a walking foodie tour of Federal Hill, a great Italian neighborhood with much history and fabulous foodie finds! Our first stop was Antonelli’s market, where you can choose a live chicken to have butchered for dinner!
Here in New York state, I cannot fathom the health department allowing such a wonderful thing, but here in Providence, this store has sold live chickens for years. We entered a small store front that had a glass case with fresh chicken, eggs, another small case with some vegetables and a few shelves of snack foods. Not too much for a grocery store, but then again, it’s not what people come here for. While we were talking with the woman behind the counter, a family came in: mom, grandma and twin girls who looked to be about four years old. They politely walked behind our group and went through the curtains at the back of the shop which really piqued our interest. We followed the little group into the back room and it was truly amazing! The room was full of cages with groups of chickens and quail, ducks and I think even some rabbits, a group of men killing and butchering the birds to order and a group of about 15 people who were waiting for their dinner!
While I really couldn’t watch the actual killing of the chickens, it was fascinating to watch entire families, even small children, choosing a couple of live chickens, having them weighed, killed, plucked and butchered for them to take home in a matter of minutes. These folks KNOW where their dinner is coming from! These kids KNOW that chicken does not come sani-wrapped in styrofoam packages. It was really incredible, and to be honest, I didn’t stay long in the back room, because while I love the freshest of the fresh ingredients, watching it all was a bit overwhelming for me. I wasn’t raised a farm girl, that’s for sure!
When we went back to the storefront we learned that nothing goes to waste with those birds. Yolks (undeveloped eggs) are taken from the insides and sold in deli containers to boil into soups, feet are sold, and of course, the fresh meat is butchered and sold to customers.
I returned after the rest of our tour to get a container of quail eggs because I knew I had to bring them home for my family to try! They are so small and pretty and when you crack them to fry them up, they are just downright adorable!
And so ended the eggs’ odyssey from Providence, RI to my plate here in Rochester, NY! They were delicious!