March 2nd, 2011
Quail are common throughout Europe, though they originate from North Africa and Asia. They are popular game birds and it’s likely that they were introduced to Europe by the Romans.
When cooking quail, you will achieve the best result and most tender meat, by cooking them quickly. They are game birds and do not need to be burnt to a crisp, like chicken, so cook them at a high temperature for 10 -12 minutes maximum. In order to ensure the bird cooks through, it’s common to spatchcock it, by cutting and removing the backbone (with scissors or a knife) and flattening it out. If it refuses to lie flat, skewer it diagonally, on both sides, from leg to wing.
I’m not a big fan of domestic grills, so I recommend cooking quail in a preheated oven, at 200º C, on a barbecue, or with a griddle pan. Drizzle the quail with extra virgin olive oil – if you have some which has been infused with garlic and herbs, that adds to the flavour, then sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Serve with salad and if you are in a Spanish mood, some Romesco Sauce.
If you want more flavour you can marinate the quail overnight and cook as above – do cut out the back bone first.
2 or 3 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 glasses of dry white wine
6 black peppercorns
a sprinkle of crushed chilli
Put the quail and marinade into a freezer bag and make sure the birds have been well coated – keep in the fridge overnight.