Monday, February 20, 2012

Quail Skewers with Asian Spices

These quail skewers with Asian Spices from Jason Atherton's cookbook "Maze" are totally scrumdumbtious, and you will definitely make them again and again! I've used the "Maze" cookbook quite a lot actually and his recipes do not disappoint. he has the book presented in an interesting way, Recipes are in sets of 3 and each recipe leads to another where elements of the former dish are used in the next one. We made his apple trifle with cider granita and apple compote doughnuts one weekend, OH.MY.GOD!!! Amazing! But that's a recipe for another day and we'll motor on with the Quails now!

This makes a light meal for 4 when served with some noodles and the salad, if having it as a main course maaybe only 2 servings?! It's supremely light and tasty!

To serve 4 people you will need the following:
 You will need 8 wooden skewers which will be soaked for about 20 mins in water, to prevent them burning under the grill later.

4 quails - I got these in Lidl a couple of times, Spanish quail and then I got some fresh Irish ones at the English market in Cork - NO COMPARISON! Our own quail were far superior, plump, juicy birds. Now whenever I'm in Cork I bring home a few for the freezer.

To prepare the quail you will have to spatchcock them. To do this get a kitchen sissors and cut along both sides of the back bone of the quail to remove it. take out the giblets and any other loose "stuff".  I like to trim up the wing tips and the legs a little and if the neck is longish I cut it off.
Now rinse them and pat dry.
Open out a quail on the chopping board and press down on the breast bone with the palm of your hand.
Cut the quail in two so each piece has a breast and a leg.
Push a skewer through going in thru the leg and coming out at the top of the breast.

Marinade Ingredients
100ml sesame oil
2tablespoons Mirin (Japanese rice wine) available in Tescos.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and chopped

Mix all  together and put half of it to one side. Brush the remainder over the quails.

Rub ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon of Szechaun peppercorns
sea salt
1 teaspoon five spice powder

Lightly toast the Szechaun peppers in a dry pan till fragrant. Put in a mortar and pestle  with a pinch of salt and grind till finely crushed, mix with the five spice powder and rub over the quails.
At this stage the aromas will have you drooling but carry on and cover with some cling film and put in the fridge for a few hours.

When the time is up preheat the grill on high, Put the marinated quails on a baking tray in a single layer. Place under the grill for ten minutes, turning halfway till the skins are turned golden brown and the quails feel firm and are cooked through.

Leave to rest for a few minutes while you make the following tasty salad.

Asian salad:
About a dozen radishes or half a mooli if you can track it down - for me that was a no no!
1 mango.
Handful of coriander leaves
Handful of baby salad leaves or Jason's recipe calls for Shiso leaves (not on your Nelly in Tralee!!!)

Toss all of these with the remaining marinade.

We enjoy our quails and salad with some noodles with chopped spring onion, a splash of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce mixed through.