Oh how I love grilled quail. I first had grilled quail a few years ago at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival at Marco Canora’s booth (his restaurant Hearth NYC is awesome by the way!), and ever since I’ve been hooked. If you’re looking to try something new in the grilling department, then give quail a try. It has a richer flavor than chicken, and one quail is about the same serving size as a large chicken breast. It is hard to find fresh, so look for it in the freezer section and if you can find it boneless even better! I butterflied these little birds to they would lay flat on the grill- one quail is the perfect serving size per person. Rosemary lemon is my favorite flavor combo and it perfectly complements these tasty little birds that grill up a perfect golden brown. Make a simple herb seasoning paste, slather it under and over the skin and let it marinate for at least an hour to absorb the flavors. Then you have a quick grilling session followed by pure dining pleasure! I paired mine with roasted sweet potato and an arugula salad. Have you tried quail before? What are your thoughts?
Ingredients: (serves 4)
- 4 quail, butterflied (spatchcocked- ie, cut the backbone out so they will late flat on the grill)
- zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cut the backbone of the quail in half so you can spread the birds flat on the grill. Next, combine the next ingredients with an immersion blender to form a seasoning paste. Using your index finger, gently separate the skin from the muscle, being careful not to tear the skin. Now, slather the seasoning paste generously under and over the skin of the quail. Let the quail marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before grilling.
Prepare your grill for 350 degrees, direct heat (ie, over the coals/gas). Oil your grill grates with canola or vegetable oil so your quail will not stick to the grill grates- don’t forget this step, Very Important! Grill the quail for 6-8 minutes PER SIDE or until an internal read thermometer reads 170 degrees. Remove the quail and let rest under foil for 10 minutes.
Pair with your favorite sides! This recipe is perfect for date night or having friends over- the quail are so pretty on the plate and they grill up in no time!