I picked up a package of 4 quail at the local market. Why? Because they were there. What were my plans? I had none. I mean, I knew I was going to cook them, but I had no idea how. So, off to Google I went, and found this recipe for Quail Sauce for Fresh Pasta on Epicurious. It got good reviews, and it's a Marcella Hazan recipe, so how could it go wrong? (That's not foreshadowing. Nothing went wrong.)
You start by browning the quail in olive oil. I have a new-found appreciation and love for my cast iron skillet, so that's what I used.
Take the quail out, and saute carrot, celery, onion, rosemary and sage. The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of each vegetable, which I thought was just silly, so I upped it to at least 4 tablespoons each. I also doubled the sage and rosemary. When the vegetables are starting to soften, you add back the quail, glug in some white wine, cover and cook. I also added anchovy paste at this point, because...why not?
After 20 minutes, add a chopped up tomato (I used 2), and cook for another 25 minutes, adding water as necessary. Remove the quail, pull the meat from the bones, and add back to the sauce. (Keep a couple legs whole for presentation if you want to be all fancy.) Cook up some fresh pasta (fettuccine in this case), and toss it with the sauce. You'll probably want to add some of the pasta cooking water to make it more, um, saucy.
Top with parmesan, a sprinkle of fresh pepper and a dusting of some crunchy salt, and you're in business.
Would I make it again? You bet. And yes, I tagged this post "chicken" because I think it would be ridiculous to have a "quail" tag with only one recipe. There might be more in the future, however.
What would you do with quail?