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Quail Eggs with Asparagus and Walnut Mayonnaise

9 Quail eggs; see * Note 1, at room temperature
6 sl Serrano ham; see * Note 2
2 Black olives
18 Asparagus tips; thin, blanched until just tender
1/2 ts Dijon mustard
1/2 tb Sherry vinegar
1 sm Whol egg
1/3 c Sunflower oil
3 tb Walnut oil
Salt; to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper; to taste


* Note 1: If quail eggs are unavailable, the smallest chicken eggs that you can find are a good substitute. Hard-boil them, and proceed as with quail eggs.


* Note 2: Serrano ham is available in Latin markets, prosciutto is a good substitute.


Bring 2 quarts of water to a gentle boil. Carefully lower quail eggs into the water; cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove and shell immediately. Add mustard, sherry vinegar and whole egg to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Blend for 3 seconds. In a cup with a spout, mix the 2 oils. With the motor of the food processor running, add the oils in a thin stream. Mayonnaise should thicken after about 3/4 of the oil has been added. Season with salt and pepper. Let eggs come to room temperature. Place ham slices on 6 small plates and spread 1/6 of mayonnaise over each slice. Cut eggs in half and place 3 halves on each plate. Garnish each egg with a small piece of black olive, and garnish each plate with 3 asparagus tips. This recipe yields 6 appetizer servings.



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