• 12 thin slices of loaf pan-size brioche (other bread can be substituted if brioche is not available)
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 24 quail eggs (available at gourmet retailers; may substitute 1 dozen chicken eggs)
• 6 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (8 tablespoons if using chicken eggs)
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream (2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons if using chicken eggs)
• 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (1 teaspoon if using chicken eggs)
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (3/4 teaspoon if using chicken eggs)
• 3/4 teaspoon chopped dill (1 teaspoon if using chicken eggs)
• 1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley (1/2 teaspoon if using chicken eggs)
• Salt and pepper
• 1 oz. American caviar (optional)
• Mâche lettuce
1. Preheat oven to 300° F. To make the toast, remove crust and quarter each slice. Brush a mini-muffin pan with butter and put a square of bread in each depression, pressing down in the center to form a cup shape. Brush the top of the bread with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep at room temperature.
2. Place eggs in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat slightly to simmer and cook for 3 minutes. (If using chicken eggs, cook for 7 minutes.) Refresh in ice water and set aside.
3. When eggs are cool, carefully peel, cut in half lengthwise, and remove yolks. In a small bowl, mash yolks with crème fraîche, cream, mustard and lemon juice. Blend with a handheld mixer until creamy. Stir in dill and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. To serve, place an egg-white half on a piece of toast. Pipe or carefully spoon the yolk mixture into the white so it mounds up high over the top. Dot with 1/4 teaspoon caviar, if using, and place over a bed of mâche lettuce. Makes four dozen quail eggs, or two dozen chicken eggs.
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