Grilled Cinnamon Quail on Roast Carrot & Ginger Salad with Pomegranate

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Preparation info

  • For

    Six

    Starters
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

Pomegranate syrup is a sweet-sharp cordial that’s sold in Persian food stores and many Middle Eastern shops. If you can’t get hold of it, use tamarind paste or a light honey (with either of these halve the amount to 1 tablespoon). Quail is a tasty bird that’s fun to eat with your fingers. They are easily roasted by brushing with oil and cooking in an oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 12-15 minutes. In this recipe they’re grilled, so flatten them out beforehand as they will then cook a lot quicker and more evenly. Holding the bird in one hand, breast side down, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. Then lay the quail on a board and flatten it with the palm of your hand.

Ingredients

  • 6 quail, fattened out as described
  • 1 cinnamon stick, ground in a spice grinder (or teaspoons powdered cinnamon)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
  • 3 teaspoons tamari
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 80ml (3fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 medium-sized red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons grated peeled ginger
  • 50ml (fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • Seeds of 1 very red and ripe pomegranate

Method

Mix the cinnamon, pomegranate syrup, tamari, the first amount of lemon zest and the olive oil in a bowl. Add the prepared quails to this paste and mix well, then seal the bowl with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours.

While they are marinating make the salad. Turn the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/Gas 4. Mix all the remaining ingredients except the coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds and place in a roasting dish in the oven. Stir after 15 minutes and cook for a further 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they may burn; they will need more occasional stirring. Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and when it’s cooled mix in the coriander leaves and put to one side. The other thing to do at this stage is to extract the seeds from the pomegranate. Cut it into quarters and take them out, removing any clinging white membrane.

Turn the grill on full. Lightly oil a piece of foil and lay it on a baking tray that will fit comfortably under the grill. The tray should be about 7-10cm (3-4in) from the elements. Sit the birds on the foil, side up, and grill for 3½ minutes, then turn over and grill for 4 minutes on the other side. Because the syrup has a high sugar content it will caramelise, which is what we want. However, it’s not as nice if it burns, so turn the heat down a bit if necessary. Quails can be eaten a little pink, so test by pushing a sharp knife into the thigh of a bird. If the juices run out clear or just a little pink they are cooked.

Serve the quail while still warm on top of the carrot salad and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. If eating with fingers, remember to provide finger bowls!