Quail is not something we have a lot, but it’s one of those proteins we’ll turn to if I’m seeking inspiration and we’ve recently have had everything from meatballs to cutlets to go along with my Sunday pastas. If you’re a fan of the dark meat on chicken, then you’ll love all of the quail, though I will admit that the leg quarters are still my favorite parts of the bird because they are even tastier than their chicken counterparts.
We’ll make quail in a lot of ways, and one way I want to try is to cook it this summer is in our air-fryer to get a slight resemblance to the quail we’ve enjoyed in Caldes d’Estrac in Catalunya, complete with homemade alioli, but this way is also warm-weather friendly because no oven is involved. You stuff the cavities of the birds with a garlic clove, a sage leaf, and a teaspoon of rosemary leaves and season everything well with salt and pepper, and the sage leaves I used were absolutely ridiculous. I bought a Biergarten sage a few months ago to replace the one that never took in our bedroom at the end of the season last year, and it’s produced some ridiculously-sized leaves:
All you do is then brown these little quail all over in a large saute pan with some olive oil before adding some good white wine, bring to a simmer, and then cover and let them cook. The Silver Spoon recipe tells you to basically stop there–after 20 minutes they are good to serve–but Michael rightly wanted to do something with all of that super-savory cooking liquid, and so he poured the contents into a saucier, reduced it, and then mounted it with a good amount of Irish butter to make a super-luxurious sauce. Spooned over the birds, everything together honestly tasted what every Thanksgiving turkey recipe promises without that whole napkins issue.
I cannot wait to make this dish again, and I want to try to adapt this recipe with chicken thighs to see what happens.
Quail simmered in white wine with garlic, sage, and rosemary.
Adapted from The Silver Spoon
- 4 quail
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 large sage leaves
- 4 tsp rosemary leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 2TB olive oil
- ¾ cup dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio
- 2 TB Irish butter
Season the quail well with both salt and black pepper. Divide the rosemary leaves into four equal piles, and then wrap one pile with a garlic clove and a sage leaf and place in the cavity of a quail. R.epeat with the rest of the quail.
Heat the olive oil in the pan to medium-high heat, and brown the quail all over. Add the wine, lower the heat to simmer, and then cover and let the quail cook for 20 minutes. Remove the quail to a plate and then let’s make the jus!
Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucier or saucepan, and simmer until reduced by half. Add the butter in chunks, whisking well before adding more, until the sauce becomes thick and luscious, and remove from the heat.
To serve, put two quail to a plate and divide the gravy between them and serve immediately.