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Pan roasted quail

This is the ultimate autumn/winter dish and it is simple to prepare. It covers all the bases, it is beautiful and most importantly, it tastes amazing. We serve it with roasted autumn vegetables, girolles and toasted breadcrumbs.  It can also be easily adapted for a lighter Spring version by adding brown buttered asparagus, roasted baby tomatoes and fresh herbs.


Pan Roasted Quail

12 quail, butterflied

extra-virgin olive oil

1cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup lardons

1 cup shallots

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons rosemary, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped flat leafed parsley

fleur de sel and black pepper for seasoning


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To butterfly the quail, use scissors to cut along each side of the backbone, and then place them on the cutting board and gently press down with the palm of your hand to flatten them. Pat the quail dry using paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the breadcrumbs with a drizzle of olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet, and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Toast the pine nuts, 5 to 7 minutes, just until they begin to turn golden brown.

In a dutch oven, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the lardons over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until crisp. Turn the heat down and add the shallots, fresh thyme and rosemary. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes, until the shallots are translucent and starting to caramelize. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Working in batches, place the quail, skin side down, in the hot skillet and sear until the skin crisps, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the quail over and put the skillet in the oven to finish cooking, about 3 minutes more.

Reheat the shallots and lardons over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the breadcrumbs, pine nuts and parsley. Check for seasoning.