I got a bug up my butt to cook a fancy dinner last night. It turned out pretty well, except that it’s hard to nibble the flesh off tiny quail with a grumpy baby in the high chair. Don’t ask me why he wasn’t satisfied with mushed-up peas and Teddy Poofs.
Here’s the recipe, adapted from Gourmet (and epicurious.com). I didn’t take any pictures of this because it was my first time making it and I wasn’t confident about the beauty aspect. I did, however, make a key lime pie for dessert, so the photo you see is evidence of that process.
QUAIL WITH ONIONS AND RED GRAPES (serves 2, can be doubled)
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons dried bouquet garni blend (could also use fresh thyme)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion (I like Peru Sweets), cut into bite-sized chunks
- 4 whole quail (5 to 6 ounces each), cleaned and necks and feet removed if necessary
- 1.5 cups red seedless grapes
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 475°F.In a small saucepan boil vinegar, honey, and bouquet garni over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze through a fine sieve into a small bowl, discarding herb solids, and reserve. In another small bowl stir together 1 tablespoons reserved glaze and 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Heat a flameproof roasting pan (I used my cast iron) in oven 10 minutes. In heated pan toss onions with remaining tablespoon butter, remaining teaspoon bouquet garni, and salt and pepper to taste and roast in upper third of oven, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
While onions are roasting, prepare quail. Rinse quail and pat dry. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Brush quail inside and out with about one third glaze-butter mixture and tie legs together with kitchen string (I didn’t do this and I wish I had, because they looked a little pointy).
Add grapes to pan and toss with onions. Arrange quail, breast sides down, over onions and grapes and roast 15 minutes. Turn quail over and baste with about half of remaining glaze-butter mixture. Roast quail, basting with remaining glaze-butter mixture, 10 minutes more, or until juices run clear when fleshy part of a thigh is pierced (I suggest checking them a little sooner, as mine came out a bit dry).
Discard string from quail and transfer to a platter. Arrange grapes and onions around quail using a slotted spoon and keep warm.
You can use the remaining glaze to drizzle around the plate; I also used some to make a little vinaigrette salad dressing.