Fried Quail with Cornmeal Crust and Scrambled Egg Salad

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

An unlikely marriage: the old southern standby of fried quail and an innovation on a Tuscan salad introduced to me by my friend Cesare Casella of Beppe restaurant in New York.

To Drink: Pinot Noir, Saintsbury Beaujolais, Morgon Breton


Cooking Methodpan-frying



Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionFormal Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationsoy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner, lunch


Taste and Texturecrisp, rich, savory, smoky, spiced, tangy

Type of Dishfirst course salad, warm salad


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 boneless quail, legs and breast separated, rinsed and patted dry
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 2 thick bacon slices, finely chopped
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups mixed young lettuces
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry Vinaigrette


In a small bowl, combine the flour and cornmeal and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne; set aside. In a medium shallow bowl, beat the egg. Add the buttermilk and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Place the quail in the buttermilk and let stand while you cook the bacon for the salad.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until semi-crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Set the pan aside.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep medium skillet over high heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Remove the quail from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Carefully drop the quail legs into the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the quail breasts to the hot oil and cook, turning once, just until golden, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, return the pan with the bacon drippings to the stove. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring to scramble until just set. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the lettuces with the sherry vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Add the scrambled eggs to the salad and toss to combine.

Divide the salad among four plates. Place the quail atop the salads and finish with a scattering of crisp bacon.


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