Not everyone loves small birds, but, in my humble opinion, they rank amongst the most delicious of all birds. Don’t buy shitty suspect frozen quail they will be dry and nowhere near as tender or tasty. Although using Harissa might suggest a lot of spice, it is in fact very aromatic with the sweetness of the stuffing and the butter.
AO 30 NOVEMBER 2023
6 fresh fat quail
for the marinade
for the stuffing
25g balsamic vinegar
80g pine nuts
30g ghee of clarified butter
20g garlic p/w, finely chopped
75g onion p/w, finely chopped
the roots from a bunch of coriander, cleaned and very finely chopped …leaves reserved for next stage
2g freshly milled white pepper
3g Maldon sea salt
splash of EVO
1 bunch of coriander, leaves only chopped
75g fresh white
60g cold water
30g very soft unsalted butter
6 cold towels because the good guest will use their fingers
Cut the spine out of the quail, cut off the wing tips and trim up the leg bones. Flatten them out slightly.
Mix everything in the marinade. Wearing food service gloves roll the quail through the marinade so that they are evenly coated. Pack them tightly into an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Day two the day you are serving
for the stuffing
Weigh the currants and balsamic into a small bowl and toss over. Fry the pine nuts in the clarified butter until they are golden. Strain off and reserve the ghee. 
Using the strained ghee and a splash of EVO sauté the garlic, onion, coriander roots, salt and pepper…set aside and allow to cool completely. Stem the silverbeet and chop the stems finely. Roughly chop the leaves. Starting with the stems, quickly fry them, add the leaves and toss over until just wilted. Tip out of the pan and allow to cool completely.
When everything is cold mix everything but the breadcrumbs and water together. Add the crumbs and water, mix well and let it stand for 15 minutes to allow the water to be absorbed.
Again, wearing food service gloves set one third of the stuffing to one side and refrigerate until you are ready to cook. Thickly butter an oven proof dish and take the quail out of the fridge. Divide the remaining stuffing between the six quail and place them split side down in the buttered dish. Spread any remaining marinade over the top of the quail, cover and refrigerate.
Three hours before you want to eat the quail and the reserved stuffing out of the fridge.
Cooking time is 40 minutes…they can be rested for 10 minutes before serving 
pre heat oven to 200°C
Place the quail in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes spread the remaining stuffing over the top and return them to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. You can let them sit for a further 10 minutes if you need to.
Serve with raita and if you fancy a small side dish of quails’ eggs…..use your imagination. To perfectly cook quails’ eggs .
 You can make this dish gluten free by substituting the fresh breadcrumbs with gluten free crumbs
 Pine nuts that don’t give you bitter mouth and ruin your palette for months and frying in ghee is tricky so don’t take your eyes off of them for a second and remember they keep colouring for a bit after they come off of the heat. Whilst it’s tricky a fried pine nut is an altered state equally as important as roasted sesame seeds.
 Initially I cooked the quail for 30 minutes, perfect for those who love rare but I noticed two of my guests struggled with the rareness. I have opted for 40 minutes a degree of cook that no one will be unhappy with.
 Put a small saucepan of cold water on to boil. Set up an ice bath. Taking the quails’ eggs straight from the fridge, drop them into the boiling water. As soon as the come back to the boil set a timer for 2 minutes. Immediately drop them into the ice bath.
finding quails' eggs
We have 42 years history at the highest level
in the food and wine industry and the passion for our craft remains undiminished…
to get the latest news, tips, and advice.