These tiny birds are remarkably flavoursome and are great with the sourness of a pickle. In this case, it’s pickled quince.
- 4 quails, butterflied (see Note)
- 120 g mixed winter salad leaves, such as chicory, spinach, rocket and dandelion
- 200 g pickled quince, sliced
- 60 g hazelnuts, toasted, roughly chopped
Quince syrup dressing
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp hazelnut oil or other nut oil
- 1 tbsp quince syrup (from pickled quince)
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.
Bring quail to room temperature. Meanwhile, to make dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
Heat a chargrill pan over medium-high heat. Brush quail with oil and season. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones, discarding bones.
Combine leaves, quince, nuts and quail meat in a large bowl. Drizzle over most of dressing and toss to coat. Season. Divide salad between 4 plates. Serve drizzled with extra dressing.
• To butterfly quail, place breast-side down on a clean board. Using kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the neck and backbone. Remove and discard. Cut through the wishbone at the bottom of the carcass, then use your fingers to carefully separate the rib cage from the flesh. Gently pull the ribcage from the flesh and discard. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher to butterfly the quail for you.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Crawford. Food Preparation by Lucy Schluter.
As seen in Feast magazine, June 2014, Issue 32. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.