Years ago, with the idea of MoVida still forming in my head, Vanessa and I spent several weeks in Valencia researching ideas and recipes. We wandered into this great antiquarian bookshop. When I saw the cooking section my heart raced. There were old books and some that were out of print. One book that caught my eye was a book about food from the Balearic Islands. To me the Balearics are another culture; there they eat all manner of different foods such as sobrasada (a soft pork sausage) and a dish of melt-in-the-mouth quail, cooked in a rich dark sauce enlivened with fresh pomegranate juice. I spent around 50 000 pesetas on books and walked out the door, arms loaded, into the blinding sun wondering how I was going to get my books home.
Trim the neck and any loose skin off the quail. Season the inside of each bird with
Discard the oil and scrape the pan clean. Add the remaining oil and sauté the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs over low–medium heat for 20–30 minutes until the onion has caramelized. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high, add the wine and scrape the bottom of the dish with a wooden spoon. Put the quails in the dish and add enough chicken stock to come to about two-thirds of the way over the quails. Bring the stock to the boil.
Remove the dish from the stove, cover with the lid and
Meanwhile, remove the seeds of the pomegranates with a spoon over a sieve above a bowl. Reserve the seeds and
Remove the casserole from the oven and transfer the quails to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Put the casserole back on the stove over medium–high heat. Add the pomegranate seeds and juice and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Keep warm.
While the sauce is reducing, deep-fry the potatoes. Fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 175°C (345°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Drain the potato and pat dry with paper towel. Deep-fry the potato in batches for 3–5 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel then sprinkle with
Serve one quail per person (or two quails if serving is ración size) on a warm plate. Spoon several tablespoons of sauce over the quails and serve with the vegetables and potatoes to one side.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.