Roasted quail

Roasted quail

By
From
How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Quail is a versatile little bird that cooks quickly and absorbs flavours beautifully. Each bird is a few mouthfuls of succulent breast, followed by tasty leg meat nibbled from the bones. Don’t bother with a knife and fork – they prohibit the enjoyment of picking at these tasty small birds. One each is not really enough, so allow two per person.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12 quail
1 tablespoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
2 cardamom pods, seeds extracted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 star anise
1 dried red chilli, crumbled

Method

  1. If possible, a day ahead, sprinkle the quail lightly all over with the salt, cover loosely and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. To prepare the spice mix, put all the seeds into a small frying pan with the star anise over a medium heat. Warm through, jiggling the pan once or twice, for about a minute until the seeds begin to jump and pop. Immediately take off the heat. Using a pestle and mortar, grind the toasted spices along with the dried chilli to give a fine-textured spice mix.
  3. Rub the quail all over with the olive oil, then scatter the spice mix evenly over the birds and gently rub into the skin using your fingers. Cover loosely and leave to marinate in a cool place for a couple of hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat up a large dry frying pan over a high heat. Brown the quail in batches, allowing 1 minute on each side and turning once only. It is important that you do not overcrowd the pan, so brown in two or three batches. Place the browned quail in a roasting tin and finish cooking in the oven for 5 minutes. Serve on a warm platter.

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