Wood-grilled quail with pine nut pi­cada

Field and Game - - BUSH TO BANQUET -

I love cook­ing quail as it has a fan­tas­tic flavour and is very ver­sa­tile. This is one of my favourite recipes. Pi­cada is a Cata­lan sauce made in a mor­tar and pes­tle. It is great added to roast juices as well as to thicken soups and stews. Tra­di­tion­ally bread is of­ten added to help its thick­en­ing qual­i­ties. Quail

• 6 quail, de-feath­ered and gut­ted (keep a keen eye out for any shot pel­lets) Halve the quail, cut­ting down each side of the chest plate. Re­move the wings at the sec­ond joint and leave the leg at­tached to the breast with the bone in.

Brine In­gre­di­ents:

• 1 litre wa­ter • 100 g salt • 50 g sugar • 2 bay leaves • 2 sprigs thyme • 1/2 lemon • 5 black pep­per­corns • 1/2 bulb gar­lic

Method:

Bring all in­gre­di­ents up to the boil and al­low to cool. Pour over quails and brine for 15 min­utes, quickly rinse and pat down with paper towel.

Pine nut pi­cada In­gre­di­ents:

• 200 g pine nuts, toasted • 1 clove gar­lic (finely grated if you don’t

have ac­cess to a mor­tar and pes­tle) • 1 hand­ful of pars­ley, chopped • 3 tsp sumac • A good pinch of salt (5 g) • Juice and zest of 1 lemon • 50 ml ex­tra vir­gin olive oil • 50 ml wa­ter • 50 ml veg­etable oil

Method:

The pi­cada will hold quite well for a few days so if you’re plan­ning on us­ing it while camp­ing, it can eas­ily be pre­pared be­fore­hand so you won’t need to lug around as many in­gre­di­ents. Once the pine nuts are golden brown, which should take about 15 min­utes in an oven at 200 de­grees, let them cool, then place half of them in the mor­tar and pes­tle or food pro­ces­sor and pro­ceed to make a rough paste. Put this aside in a bowl. With the other half of the pine nuts, ei­ther lightly pulse in your food pro­ces­sor or chop with a knife to keep very chunky, and add to the other pine nuts.

Add your gar­lic and salt to the mor­tar and pes­tle and pound to a paste, then add the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and mix to­gether. Com­bine this with the pine nuts and taste for sea­son­ing then put aside.

Grill the quail for 2–3 min­utes, skin side down, then turn over for 1 minute. The quail should still be pink­ish in the breast. Let it rest on a plate, keep­ing any of the juice.

Add any of the rested quail juice to the pi­cada and then spoon over your quail and en­joy with a good chardon­nay and some damper if you’ve got it.

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