Grilled Quail Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Honey-Coffee Vinaigrette

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS FOR THE HONEY-COFFEE VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brewed espresso or double-strength regular coffee
  • ¼ cup aged Spanish sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR THE GRILLED QUAIL SALAD

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 6 partially boned or bone-in quail, cleaned Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 to 6 cups frisée or curly endive or escarole chicory leaves, white and light green parts only
  • 2 cups wild or cultivated arugula or watercress, tough stems removed
  • About 1 tablespoon coffee beans, crushed, or cocoa nibs, for garnish

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TO PREPARE

In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso, vinegar, honey, shallot, salt and pepper until the honey is well incorporated and the salt is fully dissolved. Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and continue to whisk until well emulsified. Reserve until needed.

Mix together half of each of the rosemary, thyme, garlic and olive oil to make a marinade for the quail.

Rinse the quail under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the birds with salt and pepper and rub well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. This is a strong marinade so they won’t need a lot of time.

While the birds are marinating, cook the mushrooms. In a large, heavy sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil (or more if needed to coat the pan lightly) over high heat. Tilt the pan to spread the oil. In rapid succession, add the mushrooms, lemon juice and lemon zest, then cover and cook, shaking the pan, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown around the edges. Add the remaining rosemary, thyme and garlic and cook for another minute or two, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add half of the vinaigrette and cook until the liquid in the pan is almost completely absorbed by the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and reserve until ready to serve.

To cook the quail, prepare a medium-hot charcoal and/or wood fire in a grill. If you are working with bone-in birds, split them at the backbone so they can be laid flat on the grill; if the breastbones have been removed, tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders to keep the breasts uncovered for nice grilling.

Place the birds on the grill rack directly over the fire and grill, turning once, for 2. to 3 minutes on each side, until the skin is well caramelized. As the birds cook on each side, rotate each one a quarter turn after the first minute or so to create attractive crosshatching. A little charring on the skin here and there isn’t bad. Alternatively, you could cook the quail on a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat.

Just before the quail are ready to come off the grill, in a small saucepan bring the remaining half of the vinaigrette to a boil over high heat. Place the frisee and arugula in a bowl, pour the hot vinaigrette over the top, and toss to mix. Reheat the mushrooms until hot.

To serve, divide the greens among individual plates, placing them in the center. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the greens, dividing them evenly, and place a quail in the center of each plate. Garnish each serving with no more than . teaspoon of the coffee beans or cocoa nibs and serve.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Cindy’s Supper Club: Meals from Around the World to Share with Family and Friends. Copyright c 2012 by Cindy Pawlcyn. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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