Monday, May 22, 2006

Grilled Quails

There have been a lot of first for me this week. One of them was the hollandaise sauce, the other was my future post about a mustard chicken I made yesterday and the other was quail.

I got some quail at Christmas time and figured I should get them used up. Knowing The Frog's preference for savoury over sweet it left out a few recipes I did have for quail but, now that I had taken home a sage plant two months ago, I had what I needed for one I had looked at before: Grilled Quails. It's not fussy and pretty straight-forward. I was terrified of overcooking those teeny little things but a hovering Frog ensured "not yet... not golden enough... too grey... " Well... the pictures I took just didn't want to turn out well but the food itself was good both straight out of the over and as a midnight snack later (to which Frog will attest).

This leads me to my new favourite word of the week... "SPATCHCOCK"! I've done it now twice and let me tell you something... it's much easier to split a quail for roast than it is to split a chicken. Mu-u-u-u-u-u-ch easier. Snip snip and you have little spreadeagled quail bodies everywhere.

Here's the recipe:

Grilled Quails

4 quails [or 6 in my case.. they were very small]
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
8 small sage leaves [I only had 6 large]
2 garlic cloves [3 for my 6 birds]
1 small red chili; seeded and roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley [forgot this, dang it, but it was still good]
lemon wedges

Split each quail through the breast bone with a sharp knife and then turn over. Press open hard with the heel of your hand to form a spatchcock. Transfer the quails to a shallow dish large enough to hold all the birds side by side.

Mix together the lemon, olive oil, sage leaves, garlic and chili and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the quails and leave to marinate for 30 minutes, turning birds over after 15 minutes. Preheat the grill (broiler)

Place the quails, skin side up, on a grill tray. Position them 12-15 cm (5-6 inches) below the heat and grill (broil) for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.

Serve hot or cold, with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and lemon wedges.


I served it with pasta and zucchini broiled with the quails. The zucchini were topped with breadcrumbs, butter and asiago cheese. Very Yum.

this recipe comes from one of my new favourite cook books: the food of italy: a journey for food lovers


michelle said...

Wow! Quail is something that I have yet to take a chance at - it looks like you did very well! All these new adventures in the kitchen this last week - I'm very impressed (and some new, well-deserved cookbooks?!). I can't wait to see what that last picture was of... But okay, you're going to have to define a spatchcock for me! I've never snip-snipped my way across any bird!

Nerissa said...

Wow.. sorry for the delay on the answer. My other post explains.

All the adventures were related to my wanting to use up all the food haunting my freezer and shelves before I leave for vacation.

The quail were a tad annoying because they were so small but they also made for easier cutting. Spatchcocking is basically removing the wishbone and then cutting through the belly of the beast, pressing down on its back and spreadeagling them for more even cooking. I have to say it was much easier with tiny birds than the chicken I tried not long after. That wasn't exactly the clean process they were describing in my book.

The cookbooks aren't exactly new (6 months old) but I have my eye on a companion to that italian book. I have all the others: china, thailand, france... now india is joining the bunch and I'm just dying to get my hands on it one day.

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Nice looking quails...YUM!