Roasted quail with girolles and spinach

Roasted quail with girolles and spinach

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Delicate little quail may offer you no more than five or six mouthfuls each, but their flesh has such a delightful sweet, nutty flavour that I adore eating them. Girolle mushrooms – pan-fried with a little garlic and tossed through with velvety small spinach leaves – make a wonderful and natural partner.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 quails
200g girolles or chanterelles
500g young spinach (or pousse) leaves
100g unsalted butter
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
generous squeeze lemon juice, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Wash the quails and pat dry. Wipe the mushrooms with a clean, soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt (never rinse them, as you will wash away their gentle flavour). Wash the spinach thoroughly under cold running water, then drain in a colander.
  2. Place a small knob of butter inside the cavity of each bird, then smear a little over the breast (to use about half of the butter). Season generously with salt and pepper. Place the quails in a roasting pan on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for about 12–15 minutes until the breast is firm to the touch.
  3. While the quail is cooking, cook the spinach in batches if necessary. Simply place it in a dry pan with only the water clinging to the leaves after washing and cook briefly over a medium heat until just wilted. Drain in a colander and leave until cool enough to handle, then squeeze with your hands to remove excess water and set aside while you cook the mushrooms. Once the quail are cooked, set them aside to rest in a warm place.
  4. To cook the mushrooms, place a non-stick frying pan over a fairly high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a third of the remaining butter and allow it to sizzle slightly, then add the girolles and season lightly with salt and pepper. Leave to cook for a couple of minutes – don’t prod or poke them as this encourages them to release moisture and can ruin their final texture.
  5. Now add the garlic and spinach to the mushrooms and stir to heat the spinach and mingle the flavours. Add the rest of the butter, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a grinding of black pepper.
  6. Serve the spinach and mushrooms piping hot alongside the quail. I strongly recommend this dish... I think it is really lovely.
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