Recipe: Renee Guilbault’s Deviled Quail Eggs

Renee Guilbault is a veteran food industry consultant. Before launching Essayer Food Consulting, she held leadership roles at Pret A Manger, Bon Appetit Management Company at Google, Compass Group, and Le Pain Quotidien before launching her consulting firm.

She is the author of a career development book called “A Taste of Opportunity: An Insider’s Guide to Boosting Your Career, Making Your Mark, & Changing the Food Industry from Within,” where she shares stories, recipes, career insights, and leadership lessons alongside 15 industry experts.

Continuing in May with five new episodes, she’ll teach audiences how to cook with simple, scrumptious, no-fuss, scratch-cooking techniques alongside her uncle, Emmy-award-winning actor Harry Hamlin, on AMC+ and IFC’s “In the Kitchen with Harry Hamlin.”

Here, we share a recipe for Guilbault’s Deviled Quail Eggs.

Deviled Quail Eggs


For me, 16 quail eggs is one portion, but for you, this recipe might offer small bites for 4 to 6 people. It also makes a great addition to a plate as a clever garnish.


1 tablespoon salt (sea salt preferred, but any old salt will do) The salt is just for the boiling water.

8 quail eggs

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Maldon sea salt flakes

Fresh black pepper

Paprika, ground

Chives, washed and dried and cut into 323/4-inch pieces

Optional: Thin-cut bacon strips, cooked and finely chopped into warm bacon bits


Hey! Read all the instructions all the way through before you start doing anything!

  • Boil some water in a small saucepot and add the “any old” salt. Heavily salted water makes the eggs way easier to peel.
  • Prepare a small ice bath from 75 percent ice and 25 percent cold water so you can immediately place the cooked eggs into the cooling bath. If you don’t have ice, no problem. Just run cold water over the eggs after boiling until they are fully submerged and cooled—takes a minute or two. The point is to stop them from overcooking.
  • With a spoon, add eggs gently to the boiling water. Make sure the water is at a low simmer once they are all in.
  • Boil for 4 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat. Take out 1 egg with a slotted spoon and crack it open immediately to ensure it is hard-boiled before you remove the others. (The temperature the eggs started at can impact cooking time—super-cold eggs usually cook well at 4 minutes, but if they were at room temperature already, try 3 minutes.)
  • Once hard-boiled, plunge the eggs into your ice bath to stop the cooking. When cooled, peel the quail eggs by gently hitting one side against the sink basin to form a crack and then taking your fingers to gently squish it all over and loosen the shell.
  • Using a straight-edged knife, cut the peeled eggs in half length-wise and scoop the yolks into a small bowl using a tiny spoon or whatever you have that works.
  • To the yolks, add the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, Maldon salt, a couple turns of black pepper, and a sprinkle of paprika. Mix well with a fork—it should be creamy.
  • Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning to your preferences. Keep in mind that the bacon, if you’re adding it, is salty.
  • If you want to be all cheffy about it, you can add the yolk mixture to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe little rosettes back into the egg whites. Or you can just spoon the yolk back in, which looks gorgeous and rustic.
  • Finish by sprinkling with paprika and another touch of Maldon. Place 2 chive sticks into the yolks in a slight crisscross shape (and add the bacon here if you like), and they are ready to eat!

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