Pickled quail are great to have hanging around the fridge and they will liven up many a dish.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 4 120–160 g (4–5½ oz) whole quail
  • sea salt flakes
  • 145 ml (5 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4–6 Dutch carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved
  • ½ small celeriac, cut into 1-cm (1½-in) dice
  • ½ fennel, cut into 1 cm (½-in) dice
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), cut into 1-cm (½-in) dice
  • 2 French shallots, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved crossways
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 marjoram or oregano sprig
  • 10 green peppercorns (in brine or dried)
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) dry sherry or dry white wine
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) chicken stock
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

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.


  1. Massage the quail with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Heat a large frying pan over high heat, add the quail and seal for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Heat 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of the remaining oil in the same pan over medium–high heat. Add the carrot, celeriac, fennel, capsicum, shallot, garlic, bay leaves, marjoram or oregano, green peppercorns and saffron and cook for 5–6 minutes, until the vegetables just start to sweat and soften. Return the quail to the pan, pour in the lemon juice and sherry or wine and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining oil, the vinegar and chicken stock, then cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 6–8 minutes, until the quail is cooked through.
  3. Transfer the quail, vegetables and liquid to a shallow serving dish and serve straight away or refrigerate overnight and serve with any salad of your choice. The pickled quail will keep, covered, in the fridge for 7–10 days, as long as the quail is completely submerged in the pickling liquid.


Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99