- Course: Main Course
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Splurge
- Favorited: 0 Times
Grilled quail, succulent little devils that they are, are extremely versatile. This preparation features the quail with sweet-tart pickled figs and the contrasting flavor of salty prosciutto. If you make the figs ahead, refrigerate them in their poaching liquid and return them to room temperature before serving. You get a bonus with this recipe: The leftover fig-poaching syrup is delicious on grilled meats or even ice cream. Be sure to strain it before using. The figs are served at room temperature, but the quail should be hot, right off the grill.
- 8 partially boned quail, at least 5 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pickled Figs (recipe follows)
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cups red wine vinegar
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 6 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
- 2 star anise pods
- 6 quarter-sized coins of fresh ginger
- 4 slices lemon, seeded
- 6 peppercorns
- 12 firm fresh ripe figs, such as Black Mission
Prepare a charcoal fire (using mesquite charcoal, if possible) or preheat the broiler. Brush the quail with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill the quail, breast-side down, for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until nicely browned, 4 minutes or so. Alternatively, put the quail, skin-side up, on a baking sheet and broil until crisp on the outside, 4 minutes or so. Turn and continue broiling for another 3 minutes or until done. The quail should be slightly pink and juicy inside. Don’t overcook.
Wrap each pickled fig with a slice of prosciutto and serve alongside the quail.
In a medium nonreactive pot, put the sugar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, ginger, lemon, and peppercorns. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the figs, cover, and continue simmering for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the figs cool in the syrup. (The figs can be prepared to this point and stored in their syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.) Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the figs, reserving the poaching syrup for another use.
The sweet-tart flavors of the pickled figs are challenging for wine. However, a fruity and spicy Gewürztraminer, Riesling, or Viognier would be nice with this.
© 1995, 2007 John Ash and Sid Goldstein
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving and 6oz of prosciutto.