Wood-grilled quail with pine nut picada
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.
• 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
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
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.