We love our quails! Make sure the quail is sufficiently fat, not damaged and not frozen. We prefer it if the head is still attached to the body. This allows you to use the skin of the neck, after having removed the head and the spine. Always clean the inside with a bit of paper and remove anything that’s left.
Quails have a delicate taste, but for some reason also allow you to add strong flavours like bay leaf or black olives.
The first time we had a quail cooked this way was in a lovely restaurant in Vence, France. The restaurant was called Auberge des Seigneurs and offered a wide range of beautiful dishes from the days of King Francois I. The restaurant offered blue trout, chicken and tender lamb cooked on a spit before an open fire in the dining room. Ah, Madame Rodi, we remember these evenings, monsieur Tim and your infinite hospitality.
Using Pruneaux d’Agen could be a challenge, but other prunes will be fine, provided they are moist and tasty. Don’t use cheap, dry and tasteless ones.
A red wine from the South of France will work very well. It should balance with the sweet and nutty (prunes, pancetta) taste of the dish and the beautiful smell of bay leaf.
Here is what you need:
- 2 Quails
- 50 grams of Pancetta
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 6 Pruneaux d’Agen
- Olive oil
Clean the quails. Cut 4 pruneaux and the pancetta in smaller bits and mix together. Now stuff the quail with a bay leaf, then the mixture and finish with a pruneau. Use kitchen string to close the quail. Pre-heat your oven to 180° Celsius. Put the quails in a skillet with butter and olive oil. Put some butter on top of the quail. Make sure the breast is downward facing. This way the fat will go towards the breast, making sure these are nice and moist. Put in upper half of oven. After 10 minutes label fat over the quails. After 20 minutes turn the quails, label fat over the breast and after another 10 minutes your quails should be ready and golden. This of course depends on your oven. You may want to set it to 200° Celsius. Remove from the oven and let the quails rest for 10 minutes.
Before serving remove the kitchen string and cut the quail in half. Serve the two half’s with the stuffing facing the plate.