From JAMIE'S AMERICA by Jamie Oliver. Photographs by David Loftus. Copyright © Jamie Oliver, 2009, 2010. Photographs copyright © David Loftus, 2009, 2010. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
This is a scrumptious little recipe with big flavors and big attitude. I've used quail, which I asked the butcher to spatchcock (cut along the backbone, leaving the breastbone attached, then flatten out0 for me, but you'll also get amazing results with chunks of rabbit or other birds such as spatchcocked Cornish hens or pigeons. If you do use different birds, just bear in mind that they'll be a bit bigger than these little quail and will want longer in the pan to cook through. At its heart this is simply cooked meat with smashed veggies, it's what happens in the last few minutes when you're making the sauce that puts the magic into it. Good fun to make and gorgeous to eat. If you want to cook this for more than two people, simply up the number of quail (along with your other ingredients) and roast them in an oven preheated to full whack until crispy and delicious while you make your sauce. Toss them in the pan to coat them, then pop them back into the oven to glaze and set for a minute or two. Dead easy!
Photo © David Loftus, 2009, 2010.
Serves 2For the smash
- ½ lb turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lb potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- A large pat of butter
For the quail
- 4 spatchcocked quail
- Olive oil
- Cayenne pepper
- 8 slices of smoked bacon, the best quality you can afford, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- A pat of butter
- 2 heaping tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- A small bunch of fresh Italian parsley
Put the turnips into a pan with some cold salted water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes and continue to boil for 10 to 14 minutes, until a small knife goes through them very easily. Drain in a colander, leave to steam dry, then return them to the pan and add a large pat of butter and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Crush with the back of the spoon so the veg are smashed, but still quite rustic and chunky. Have a taste to make sure you've got the seasoning perfect, then with a lid or some foil to keep warm while you cook your quail.
Put a large thick-bottomed frying pan or skillet on a high heat. Toss the quail in some olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Rub the flavors all over the meat, inside and out, then lay your oiled quail in the hot pan. Cook for about 8 minutes, skin side down, until golden and crispy, then flip them onto the other side for a minute or two or more.
After the quail have been cooking for a few minutes, add the bacon. It's your job to keep turning things and watching the meat, so use your instincts and turn the heat up or down if you think it needs it. When the quail and bacon are golden and gorgeous-looking all over, turn the heat down to low. Add a pat of butter, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, and the sugar. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and ¼ cup of water, and stir and jiggle it to creat a wonderful, glazy, spicy sauce. Keep turning the meat so it gets nicely coated, and after about 2 minutes have a taste of the sauce. It should have a fine balance of sweet and spicy, so add another pinch of cayenne if you like a bit of a kick, as I do. If you think it's a bit dry, feel free to add a splash more water.
To serve, divide the smash between 2 plates or spread it over a platter, with your quail on top. Roughly chop your parsley leaves, sprinkle them over with a little hint of cayenne pepper and serve with some simple boiled greens. Absolutely delicious.