Pounded chicken thigh fillets were marinated in adobo sauce, twice fried, laid on lightly toasted pan de sal halves smeared with liver pâté then topped with fried quail eggs, crispy fried garlic and finely sliced scallions. It’s a modern way to serve Filipino chicken adobo. Serve these chicken adobo and quail eggs canapés with pale pilsen for a truly Filipino touch.
Whatever inspired this dish? After Alex finished her culinary course, she had to take a certification exam. While preparing for the exam, we thought of dozens of dishes that she could make. One of the ideas for the appetizer was adobo canapés. Not exactly like these, but something similar. But since Alex was not sure what ingredients would be available on the day of the exam, we trimmed down the choices to simpler dishes. In the end, she prepared bacon-wrapped crabsticks with her special spicy mayo for dipping.
These chicken adobo and quail eggs canapés start with chicken thigh fillets with the skin on. I wouldn’t recommend skinless fillets and especially NOT breast fillets. The chicken has to be marinated in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce; since vinegar dries out meat, you need the fatty skin to make up for whatever effect the vinegar’s acid may have on the meat.
The marinated chicken thigh fillets can be fried or grilled. I fried mine. To make sure that the fillets wouldn’t turn too dark (the soy sauce, you see) before the meat was cooked through, I opted for the double-frying technique which is described in more detail in the recipe below.
To make them truly modern Filipino, I chose pan de sal (home baked by Alex) as the base for these chicken adobo and quail eggs canapés. And because traditional Filipino adobo includes liver, I smeared the lightly toasted pan de sal halves with liver pâté.
But why quail eggs? Because these are canapés. Chicken eggs would be too large and they would have fully covered the chicken adobo. Quail eggs, on the other hand, were just the right size.
Chicken Adobo and Quail Eggs Canapés
- 3 to 6 chicken thigh fillets skin on, halved if large
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 to 4 bay leaves
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar (if using a stronger vinegar, reduce the amount)
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooking oil for frying
- 6 teaspoons liver pâté (or substitute canned liver spread)
- 3 small pan de sal halved and toasted
- 6 quail eggs fried sunny side up
- fried garlic
- finely sliced scallions
Marinate the chicken
- Arrange the chicken thigh fillets between two sheets of cling film. Using a kitchen mallet, pound to a uniform thickness of no more than a quarter of an inch thick.
- Make the adobo sauce. In a bowl, stir the minced garlic, bay leaves, pepper, rice vinegar and soy sauce.
- Place the pounded chicken thigh fillets in a shallow bowl and pour the adobo sauce over them. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Fry the chicken adobo
- Pour the cooking oil into a frying pan. Set the heat to medium (if using a thermometer, about 320F).
- Strain the chicken thigh fillets and fry (in two batches, if the frying pan cannot hold all of them in a single layer) for about two minutes per side. Scoop out and move to a rack. Cool for five minutes.
- Reheat the cooking oil; this time turn up the heat to high (about 375F). Fry the chicken fillets a second time. A minute per side should create a nice caramelized crust if the oil is hot enough. Scoop the chicken out of the oil and move to a rack.
Assemble the canapés
- Spread a teaspoonful of liver pâté on each of the toasted pan de sal halves.
- Place a chicken fillet on each of the liver pâté-smeared bread.
- Lay a fried quail egg over the chicken.
- Sprinkle fried garlic and sliced scallions over the eggs and chicken.
- Serve the chicken adobo and quail eggs canapés at once.