Southerners like to “smother” everything from chicken to rabbit to quail—meaning they either simply bake their meat slowly in a vessel with a tight-fitting lid or cook it in an iron skillet with a heavy weight on top. You really don’t have to tenderize quail, but marinating it briefly in a mixture of gin, oil, and seasonings does add a bit of mystery to its slightly gamey flavor. One nice thing about smothering quail in this manner, instead of frying, roasting, or grilling it, is that the likelihood of the tiny bird drying out is minimized.
Season the quail inside and out with salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer in a large baking dish. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the gin and oil till well blended. Add the onion, celery leaves, and tarragon, season with Tabasco, and stir. Pour the marinade over the quail, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours, turning the quail twice.
Remove the quail from the marinade and wipe dry with paper towels. Melt
On a large serving platter, arrange each quail on a toast triangle and serve.
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