Blackberry and Balsamic Roast Quail

by Jenn on August 16, 2009

in Diabetic Friendly,Dips and Sauces,Gluten Free,Meats

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There is no greater sin than to overcook a quail.” – No Reservations

So says Catherine Zeta Jones’s character in the movie when she talks about all the different ways that she loved to prepare quail. This sounds mighty intimidating, but when done well, the result is perfection in your mouth.  Quail are small and delicate, and when cooked just right, perfectly flavorful and tender.  For being game fowl, quail does not have a very strong taste, just a very flavorful one.  There is a bit of a trick to cooking them though, because of their size.  If you cook them at too low of a temperature, the time required would dry them out too much.  So you need to roast them at a higher temperature than you would say, a chicken or a turkey.  However, that means that you need to watch them more carefully, so that they don’t overcook.  It is a definite balance.  Now if only I could figure out how to eat one as neatly :)

This recipe was adapted from this Balsamic Glazed Quail I found over on Feel Good Eats.  I added in fresh blackberries to the marinade because nothing says summer like cooking with fruit, even in your entrees.  I also doubled the marinade sauce and used half of it some fennel for the topping.  Fennel is a great vegetable that I really need to use more.  Also known as anise, it has a sharp yet savory licorice flavor that I am still learning how to play with, and possible use in place of aromatics (onions, shallot, etc.) in other recipes.  Here, the fennel added the perfect new dimension of flavor to the sweet/tart of the blackberry/balsamic sauce.  The quail sat on a bed of a simple sauteed spinach and arugula with some goat cheese mixed in.  This dish had a lot of different flavors, but they all came together in the perfect symphony of sensations and tastes.

So do not be afraid of quail, or experimenting with new flavors – adding in the blackberry and fennel was a total experiment here, and in this case, the perfect success!

Also linked to – Friday Foodie Fix

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