Spanish Béchamel-Coated Quail Eggs
Serve the eggs warm with mixed-green salad for a small plate lunch entrée, or alone as part of a selection of tapas.
Poke the cloves into the quarter onion. Put the milk in a sauce pan with the onion, thyme sprig, and bay leaf and heat to scalding (not quite boiling), then turn the heat off. Let steep for 15 minutes, then remove onion, thyme sprig, and bay leaf.
To make the béchamel sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour, and cook, stirring for a few minutes. Gradually add the hot milk and whisk to smooth out lumps. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir frequently during simmering to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and let the sauce cool to room temperature. Dip the eggs in the béchamel sauce, then place them on a plastic-lined sheet pan and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to overnight, to get firm.
Dip the béchamel-coated quail eggs in the beaten egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large heavy pot to 365°F. Fry the eggs in the oil for several minutes, then drain on paper towels.