Put the quails into a large bowl and add the thyme, garlic,
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the corn cobs for 4–5 minutes (4 if they’re really fresh), then drain.
Cut the aubergines into slices about 1 cm thick and mix the sesame oil into the remaining oil. Brush
Once the quails are ready to cook, take them from the marinade and cook on the barbecue, skin side up, over a moderate heat – too fierce and they may blacken on the outside without cooking on the inside. Turn over after 4 minutes; they should be nicely charred but definitely not burnt. Cook for around 2 minutes on the other side. The degree of heat you are cooking over and the fact that the quails may or may not be boned, will affect the cooking time. But, as with all birds on the bone, just poke a sharp knife into the thickest part, near the thigh bone, to see if it’s cooked through. The meat will look brown/red and have no signs of rawness. If the breasts are a little pink, all the better, as they will be juicy and tender. Once they’re cooked, remove them from the barbecue and place on a plate.
Cut the corn into rounds about 1 cm thick. Cut the bases from the chicory heads and separate all the leaves. Remove the cores from the pears and peel if you want to, then cut each into 8 wedges.
Place the corn and aubergine on 4 plates. Mix the chicory, pears, olives, cress or sprouts and remaining oil in a bowl, then sit this salad on top. Cut the quails in half lengthways, then remove the legs from the breasts and sit 2 quartered birds on top of each plate of salad. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
© 2005 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.