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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 05, 2011

Moroccan-Inspired Grilled Quail with Sauteed Kale and Grilled Lemons

By Worker Bee
22 Comments

If you’re someone who has wondered if cooking a bird as small as a quail is worth the time and effort, let us remind you that good things do indeed come in small packages. As far as time and effort goes, it requires very little of either to serve quail. Its small size means that it takes just a sprinkle of seasoning or a brief amount of time in a marinade to add tons of extra flavor. Not that you need to; even with just a dash of salt, quail meat is tender and succulent. And quail cooks very quickly – 10 minutes or so on the grill and dinner is ready.

The daintiness of quail makes it seem like a fancy meal, but we recommend putting away the white tablecloth and good silver. Quail is the perfect finger food, so drop the knife and fork and dig in. If your butcher gives you a choice, semi-boneless quail (rib cage removed) are easier to eat than un-boned quail (which are what we used for this recipe). Not all butchers carry quail, but it should be easy to special order. Plan on about 2 quail per person.

Grilling quail makes the outside nice and crispy, and the slightly charred flavor of the skin is perfect with this toasty Moroccan-inspired spice blend. On the side, kale sautéed with kalamata olives is finished with the sweet, smoky juice of grilled lemons.

You can have this whole meal on the table in about 30 minutes, although it will taste like you slaved over it for hours. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3-4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 quail

  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 2-3 bunches of kale, leaves pulled off the tough stems
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Instructions:

Mix together the 8 rub ingredients. Use your fingers to smear the rub all over the quail.

Prepare your grill so the heat is medium-high.

Grill the quail 4 to 6 minutes on each side. It’s normal for fully cooked quail meat to remain a little pink at the bone. If you can easily pull meat away from the leg bones with a fork, it’s done.

Rub a little olive oil on the cut lemon and grill next to the quail, cut side down.

Remove quail and lemons from the grill.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the kale until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and shake off excess water.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet and add shallot and garlic. Saute a few minutes then add kale, olives and red pepper flakes.

Saute a few minutes more then finish by squeezing juice from the grilled lemon on top.


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22 Comments on "Moroccan-Inspired Grilled Quail with Sauteed Kale and Grilled Lemons"

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Sarah Due
Sarah Due
5 years 6 months ago

Is it wrong to think that those little grilled birds look both cute and delicious?

Love these posts Mark, thanks!

Alberto
Alberto
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome recipe! I do the same with a whole chicken and spinach. Might give this one a try since quails are on sale at my local supermarket!

Primal Toad
5 years 6 months ago

Sounds like I need to venture out and try more birds! This looks absolutely fabulous – just like ALL of your recipes!

jem
jem
5 years 6 months ago

I just can’t stop thinking that those are really NYC pigeons….
Did you purchase them in Chinatown?
Not that consuming pigeon is a bad thing but that city diet may make for toxic meat,

slacker
slacker
5 years 6 months ago

What a great looking plate of food. And those spices sound fantastic. Another great post. Thank you.

From the “don’t buy without inspecting” department: I bought a cheap but shrink-wrapped low carb cookbook somewhere, got it home and found that the recipes all included junk like straight fructose powder. Burned!

Checking out the local quail supply.

rob
rob
5 years 6 months ago

I had a brace of quail sitting in the freezer that I couldn’t decide what to do with, this looks perfect!

Jimmy Ruiz
Jimmy Ruiz
5 years 6 months ago

This looks awesome.

About kale– this recipe suggests cooking i for 3-5 minutes. If you go past that, does it lose is nutritional value?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
5 years 6 months ago

This looks really good. And you used my favorite kind of kale in the pictures!

Kris
5 years 6 months ago

That looks delicious, never even heard about that bird before.

– Kris

Sean K
Sean K
5 years 6 months ago

Could do the same with game hens- they might be easier to get than quail.

Squab might be good, too. That’s farm raised pigeon

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 6 months ago
quail are cute…but i still like to shoot them. probably i burn more calories chasing mountain quail than i get from them(only cuz i don’t have a bird dog). grouse are a little bigger and almost as tasty. and they don’t run up and down steep hillsides so much. usually they just perch in the tree and let you shoot them. i like doves, too–you need about 4 per person for a meal and usually you do have to shoot them on the wing–it takes more skill than i possess with a shotgun, but my husband gets them. a guy… Read more »
Gary Deagle
5 years 6 months ago

One of my clients brought me some fresh kale from her garden the other day. If I get my hands on some quail I will give this one a shot!

Marybeth
Marybeth
5 years 6 months ago

Why not just saute the kale with the shallots and garlic, this way you don’t loose so much nutritional value of the kale. Just add a top to the pan you are sauteing the kale in and a tablespoon of water if needed and set on low heat.;)

Healthy Hideout
5 years 6 months ago

Awesome looking recipe Mark! I’ve always seen Quail widely available at my local supermarket, and never really been brave enough to take it upon myself to crack out a tasty result. One to try this!

Thanks again!

Kabonk George
Kabonk George
5 years 6 months ago

Sounds delicious, but I’d substitute brocoli rabe for kale; don’t know why, but I’ve never liked kale…

Greg
Greg
5 years 6 months ago

just finished cleaning the kitchen from this meal prepared with wild quail harvested from my uncle’s farm. I substituted fresh spinach for the kale because I was unable to find kale at my small town local market.

Not too bad, go easy on the garlic though

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[…] 11.03.17 17 Mar 2011THURSDAY 11.03.17 Posted in Blog, Meal of the Day, RSS | Leave a commentGrilled Quail w/Kale & Lemons Marks Daily Apple "If you're someone who has wondered if cooking a bird as small as a quail is […]

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[…] 11.03.17 Grilled Quail w/Kale & Lemons Marks Daily […]

Tracy
Tracy
5 years 3 months ago

No quail at my supermarket – but there are packages of quail at my pet food store in the raw section 🙂 May do this with Cornish hens instead though… sounds delicious.

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4 years 5 months ago

[…] got the recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple. I skipped the cumin and added more paprika and instead of Kalamata Olives, I opted for Pimiento […]

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