Marks Daily Apple
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5 Mar

Moroccan-Inspired Grilled Quail with Sauteed Kale and Grilled Lemons

kaleandquail1If 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

quailingredients
  • 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
kaleingredients
  • 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.

rawquailwithrub

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.

grillingquail

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

grilledlemon

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.

sauteeingquail

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

kaleandquail2

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

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

    Love these posts Mark, thanks!

    Sarah Due wrote on March 5th, 2011
  2. 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!

    Alberto wrote on March 5th, 2011
  3. Sounds like I need to venture out and try more birds! This looks absolutely fabulous – just like ALL of your recipes!

    Primal Toad wrote on March 5th, 2011
  4. 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,

    jem wrote on March 5th, 2011
  5. 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.

    slacker wrote on March 5th, 2011
  6. I had a brace of quail sitting in the freezer that I couldn’t decide what to do with, this looks perfect!

    rob wrote on March 5th, 2011
  7. 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?

    Jimmy Ruiz wrote on March 5th, 2011
  8. This looks really good. And you used my favorite kind of kale in the pictures!

    Elizabeth wrote on March 5th, 2011
  9. That looks delicious, never even heard about that bird before.

    – Kris

    Kris wrote on March 5th, 2011
  10. 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

    Sean K wrote on March 5th, 2011
  11. 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 i used to work with once questioned how i could feel good about eating doves because it “takes so many for just one meal.” i reminded him of the shrimp he’d had for lunch.

    DThalman wrote on March 5th, 2011
  12. 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!

    Gary Deagle wrote on March 6th, 2011
  13. 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.;)

    Marybeth wrote on March 6th, 2011
  14. 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!

    Healthy Hideout wrote on March 7th, 2011
  15. Sounds delicious, but I’d substitute brocoli rabe for kale; don’t know why, but I’ve never liked kale…

    Kabonk George wrote on March 7th, 2011
  16. 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

    Greg wrote on March 7th, 2011
  17. 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.

    Tracy wrote on June 25th, 2011

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