Malta’s long had a relationship with quails. A commonly-hunted bird, quail is also considered quite the delicacy, making the bird one of those Maltese dishes that crosses class lines.
With the season now open, this could be the perfect time to get some fresh quail and try some new recipes. The classic recipes are always good, but 2018 should be the year you try some new flavours.
Here are seven awesome recipes for quail that should cover all bases and tastes.
1. Breakfast quail
- 200g diced bacon
- 4 semi-boneless quail
- Salt and pepper
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 100g grated cheddar cheese
1. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat or a wood fire, cook the bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels, reserving the rendered fat. Season the quail with salt and pepper and add the reserved bacon grease, tossing well.
2. Grill the quail over a hot fire until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside.
3. In the same pan the bacon was cooked in, add the eggs and cheese and cook, stirring often, until done. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Serve the quail with the eggs, with bits of bacon on top.
2. Sausage-stuffed quail
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup dry port wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 500g bulk fennel sausage
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
- 1 egg
- 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 4 semi-boneless quail, wingtips removed
1. Season the quail with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Make the stuffing by mixing all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Divide the stuffing into four portions and stuff each quail with some sausage, securing the quail with a toothpick.
3. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. In a large, oven-proof pan, heat the butter until hot, then add the quail, breast side down. Brown the breasts for 5 minutes, then flip onto their backs and baste well with the butter. Place in the oven and roast until the sausage if fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and put the quail on a warm plate. Place the pan over medium heat and add the sage leaves; cook for about 30 seconds, then add the chicken stock, stirring well and scraping the pan with a wooden spoon. Squeeze the lemon into the pan and set aside.
5. Serve the quail on a bed of mashed potatoes, with the sauce poured over.
3. Hot-fried quail
- 20 quail pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- Oil, for frying
- Jalapeno or Serrano peppers, sliced thinly
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp honey
- Hot sauce, to taste
1. Season the quail with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Refrigerate the quail for about 1 hour.
2. Melt the butter and honey together in a large bowl and add hot sauce to taste. Heat the oil to 190 degrees in a deep fryer or large pot and fry the quail in batches for about 4 minutes, or until golden.
3. Remove the fried quail to a rack or absorbant towels to drain. Once all of the quail are fried, toss them in the glaze and sprinkle with a little more salt.
4. Serve immediately with the sliced peppers.
4. Quail sliders
- 12 quail breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium green tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 thin slices of fresh ginger
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp mustard seed
- 2 cloves
- Hot sauce
- 12 small soft rolls or slider buns
1. Preheat a gas grill to high heat or build a hot fire.
2. Season the quail breasts with salt and pepper, then toss with the olive oil. Grill the quail breasts on each side until well browned. About 2 or 3 minutes per side.
3. Mix together the hot sauce and the mayonnaise, adding more to taste.
4. Toast the rolls on the grill or in the oven.
5. To assemble, lay a grilled quail breast on the bottom bun, then top with a couple slices of pickled tomato and a dollop of the spicy mayonnaise.
5. Orange caramelised quail breast with feta cheese and Spanish onion salad
- 400g quail breasts
- 4 tbsp orange jelly
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- 10 sprigs fresh asparagus, trimmed, blanched and cut into 2cm pieces
- 1/2 telegraph cucumber, sliced in half lengthways then cut into 1cm pieces
- 1/2 Spanish onion, finely sliced
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, whole leaves only
- 2 tbsp lemon dressing
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1. Place the quail breasts in a large ceramic bowl and drizzle over the orange jelly, making sure you cover all breasts especially on the skin. Cover and set aside.
2. Preheat the barbecue. Meanwhile, for the salad, place all the ingredients except the feta cheese and the lemon dressing into a bowl and gently toss.
3. Place each quail breast skin-side down onto the hot plate of your preheated barbecue. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin is crispy and caramelised, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes, basting with the orange jelly as you go. Allow to rest for 5 minutes then slice into halves.
4. To serve: add the crumbled feta, quail breast and dressing to the salad and toss gently. Place a generous amount of the salad onto each plate making sure everyone gets a bit of everything.
5. Serve immediately with a nice crusty ftira or Maltese loaf.
6. Grilled quail breasts with figs and pecans
- 8 quail breasts, cut in half
- Salt and pepper
- 16 small figs
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for dressing
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 4 handfuls field greens
- 1 lemon
1. Season the quail breasts with salt and pepper.
2. Skewer the breasts on bamboo skewers, alternating with the figs.
3. Combine the olive oil, balsamic, honey and rosemary on a small bowl, then brush the skewers with this marinade. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
4. Build a hot fire in a grill. Brush the grate with more olive oil and grill the skewers, skin side down, until nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side.
5. Once cooked through, place the skewers on top of the lettuces or field greens and scatter the pecans over the top. Drizzle with more olive oil and squeeze the lemon over and serve.
7. Spicy honey and garlic quail
- 4 quails
- 8 slices of bacon
- 3 onions
- 2 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- A glass of red wine
- 2 oranges
1. Juice two oranges and add a tablespoon of honey to the juice. Stir in some orange zest.
2. Slice the lemons in half and stuff the quails. Brush the quails with the honey and orange mixture.
3. Spread the bacon rashers in a dish and put quails on the bacon. Place a bay leaf on each quail.
4. Spread the sliced onions and garlic over the quails. Season to taste.
5. Pour remaining orange and honey sauce over the quails. Add the olive oil and a glass of red wine. Cover dish in foil and place in over at 190 degrees for 40 minutes.