Pickled quail with olive bread

Pickled quail with olive bread

By
From
Saha
Serves
4
Photographer
Matt Harvey

Although they are heart-breakingly tiny, rice birds are eaten with gusto as a mezze dish in Lebanon. On our recent trip, I was excited to find them so often on the menu. In one particularly memorable dish, the birds were fried before being pickled in a sweet–sour marinade with shredded vegetables. This is my attempt to re-create the experience, using quail.

Spiced flour

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon plain flour

Pickled quail

Quantity Ingredient
8 200 g jumbo quail
salt
50ml olive oil
1 purple onion, finely sliced
1 long green chilli, seeded, scraped and finely shredded
1 stick celery, finely shredded
1 garlic clove, crushed with ½ teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
125ml water
extra-virgin olive oil
Olive bread

Method

  1. To make the spiced flour, grind the spices in a mortar or spice grinder, then sieve to separate the husks. Stir this fine powder into the flour and reserve the larger husks to add to the pickling braise.
  2. Trim the quail of their necks and wing tips, and cut them in half. Pat them dry, season with salt and dust with the spiced flour. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and arrange the quail pieces, skin side down. Cook on a medium heat for 2–3 minutes, until they start to colour. Turn them and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Add the vegetables, garlic paste, lemon juice and water to the pan and cook on a high heat for a minute. The vegetables should still be crunchy. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary; the flavours should be nicely tangy.
  3. Tip into a serving dish and leave to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. You can eat this dish chilled, or allow it to return to room temperature. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with olive bread and unsalted butter.
Tags:
Saha
Malouf
Lucy
Greg
Lebanon
Lebanese
Syria
Syrian
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