Recipe from Home at 7, Dinner at 8 by Sophie Wright (Kyle, 2011)I can't help but buy quails when I see them, and I've never had a displeased diner when I've cooked up this appetizer for them. It's quite big and, of course, can also be eaten as an entrée, but I tend to go with a light main if I cook this at a dinner party. Serve quails slightly pink and they go particularly well with the sweet/salty duo of goat cheese and fig. They are easy to prepare and, as they are so small, this dish cooks in no time.
- 6 large ripe figs
- 7 ounces goat cheese
- 4 whole quails
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil, for roasting
- 2 tablespoons honey
- corn salad or pea shoots, to serve
For the pickled walnut dressing
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the figs crisscross style from the top to halfway down and push up from the bottom to open them out like a flower. Push as much goat cheese into the opening of the fig as you can-be very generous.
- 6 pickled walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sticky balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 Season the quails with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet along with the figs. Drizzle both the quails and the figs with the olive oil and the honey and put in the oven to roast for 12 to 15 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, make a dressing by mixing the pickled walnuts with the mustard, vinegar, chopped parsley, and olive oil.
4 After 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, take out the figs, and set aside. Return the quails to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
5 Serve 1 quail and 1 fig per person, garnish with a handful of corn salad or pea shoots, and drizzle with the pickled walnut dressing. You can carve the meat from the quail for presentation purposes if you prefer by removing both the legs, cutting down the breastbone, and removing both breasts.
Serves 2 or 4 as an appetizer
Most game goes really with figs-try this dish with a pan-fried pigeon breast.