Once the quail is grilled, rest it in a 'bath" of verjuice, extra virgin olive oil and grapes. I use the 'bath" as the final dressing as well. Pearl barley (the polished barley grain) is the base of a warm salad, tossed with lightly pan-fried diced prosciutto, parsley, toasted almonds and golden raisins, which have been macerated in sherry.
Chef Nicky Reimer of Melbourne's Union Dining shares her recipe.
6 butterflied deboned quail with their little leg bones intact (any good butcher will sell quails deboned)
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
1 bay leaf
½ bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
½ cup dried golden raisins (macerated in ½ cup of just warmed amontillado sherry for 30 minutes)
1 cup natural almonds, lightly roasted, roughly chopped
150g small diced pancetta
200g fresh goat curd (such as Woodside Cheese Wrights)
150ml verjuice (I use Maggie Beer brand)
300ml extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dark skin grapes cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking and dressing
Sicilian sea salt
White pepper in a grinder
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the pearl barley, bay leaf, water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes over very low heat, until all the water is absorbed and the pearl barley has 'puffed up". Remove from the heat, scrape on to a tray, drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and spread out. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine the verjuice, extra virgin olive oil, grapes and season. Set aside. (This is what we rest the quails in once they come off the grill.)
Pan-fry the diced pancetta over low heat for about 8 minutes or until the pancetta is slightly crispy. Drain on paper towel.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the room temperature pearl barley, macerated raisins and sherry, almonds, cooked pancetta and chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season and set aside. The salad should be wet.
Heat a grill plate (preferably with ridges, not a flat one) to high. Brush with a small amount of oil.
Season the butterflied quails on both sides with salt and pepper, rub with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and place on the hot grill, skin-side down. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the quails and place in a shallow tray. Spoon over the verjuice, oil and grape mix. Allow the quails to rest in this bath for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon the salad onto a serving plate.
Remove the quails from the liquid, cut in half down the centre of the bird. Arrange on the pearl barley salad. Generously spoon over some of the verjuice and grape mix. Add a few dollops of goat curd around the salad to serve.
Nicky Reimer is the head chef at Melbourne's Union Dining.