Grilled Quail Day

6 April 2005

I’ve been enjoying trying recipes from these books – Moro and Casa Moro – written by the popular Moro restaurant owners Sam and Sam Clark. Their recipes are mainly North African, Spanish and Middle Eastern which were quite new to me when I moved from Japan, so they are really interesting to try.

All of the recipes I’ve cooked so far worked really well and these ones did too. I had always wanted to try rose petals for cooking (just because it looks pretty!) and this grilled quail recipe had rose petals – to be honest I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste, but it turned out surprisingly well! The sweet, fragrant (*really* fragrant) and garlicky sauce goes well with the strong gamey flavour of quail and I especially liked the rose petals and pistachios with the meat. I used orange-blossom water instead of rosewater this time.

Grilled quail with rose petals

Serves 4

4 quails, cut down the middle of the backbone with scissors and flattened out

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons rosewater
1 tablespoon lemon juice
black pepper

3 tablespoons rose-petal jam
1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
a squeeze of lemon
sea salt and black pepper

Mix all the ingredients of the marinade together and rub all over the quail. Place in a dish and marinate for at least 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.

To make the sauce, mix the rose-petal jam (or quince paste with rose-water), garlic and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and taste for seasoning.

Grill the quail on a hot griddle pan for 5-8 minutes each side until the meat is no longer pink but is still juicy. Serve with watercress dressed with oil and lemon and the sauce on the side. Scatter a few dried or fresh petals over and some roughly chopped pistachios.

I made another marinade for Matthew (he wasn’t at all sure about using rose petals for cooking) – this one is a bit more familiar (or is it?) – pomegranate molasses. Again, the sweet, sour pomegranate dressing goes really well with the strong flavour of quail, although I preferred the rose petal one.

Grilled quail with pomegranate molasses

Serves 4

4 quails, cut down the middle of the backbone with scissors and flattened out

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 medium onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with salt
a pinch of ground allspice

200g watercress salad
Pomegranate morasses dressing
1 pomegranate, seeds only

Pomegranate molasses dressing
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar (optional)
sea salt and black pepper

To make the dressing, mix the garlic with the cinnamon and pomegranate molasses, then add the water and whisk in the olive oil. The sauce should emulsify. Check for seasoning, adding sugar if the dressing is very tart.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub well all over the quail. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours or in the fridge overnight.

Grill the quail as above. Serve with watercress salad dressed with the dressing, and the pomegranate seeds on top.

I haven’t been to the restaurant yet though – I’ve heard some mixed comments about their food from my friends, still I should give it a try one of these days.

Food - Savoury        18 comments    Permalink

  • Oh.My.God. That’s GORGEOUS! I want to lick the screen.

    Posted by debbie | 7 April 2005 #
  • omg, they’re pretty! Didn’t he even have a taste of rose petal one?

    Posted by chika | 7 April 2005 #
  • Keiko, if you haven’t already: go rent Like Water for Chocolate!Its a fun movie that will make you pause before making your rose-petal dish again!

    Posted by McAuliflower | 7 April 2005 #
  • My GOD! Keiko...I am quite crying now for want of some quail! And you can still find POMEGRANATES!!!????? I zoomed in right away on those pip garnishes.

    Arggghh! We were gifted with a jar of rose jam some time ago but not knowing what to do with it, after spreading some on toast a few times, it just sat in the fridge and grew mold. Damn it!

    Keep on with the sensuous cooking!!!!

    Posted by rowena | 7 April 2005 #
  • Beautiful, just plain, fantastically beautiful!

    Posted by Zarah Maria | 7 April 2005 #
  • Keiko, you do make me hungry everytime i see your lovely food photographs! Haven’t tried quail nor any rose-petal dishes but it sounds like a great food. Would love to try making them sometime.

    Posted by Elna Smith | 7 April 2005 #
  • OMG! That looks wonderful even though I don’t eat meat... The photos are beautiful.

    Posted by Dagmar | 8 April 2005 #
  • hey, i just borrowed the moro cookbook from a friend at work and no sooner had i opened it, i placed an order on amazon. the recipes seem gorgeous, without exception, and they seem to be reasonable in terms of ingredients needed and effort required. i can’t wait to visit their restaurant in exmouth market...have you ever been?

    Posted by johanna | 9 April 2005 #
  • Keiko,
    Another beautiful photograph! I have always been a fan of quail, so will have to try that wonderful looking recipe with rose petals.

    Posted by Chefdoc | 12 April 2005 #
  • Keiko san, a friend did me the favor of pointing me towards your blog. Your pictures and the food is absolutely stunning. May I ask what camera are you using to take the photos?
    I am Japanese by birth but grew up in America and am now living in London. So many of your posts feel so familiar! I love those liquid salt caramels from l’artisan du chocolat and now that you’ve reminded me, I will be pulling out the Moro cookbook to make the Quail recipe again. My version is not as beautiful as yours.


    Posted by Akiko | 12 April 2005 #
  • Hi Debbie - thank you, it was delicious even though I wasn’t sure until I actually ate it!

    Hi Chika - no, he didn’t (you must have known it...)

    Hi Jocelyn - I don’t think I’ve seen that film, must try sometime!

    Hi Rowena - how do you normally cook quail in Italy? I have to admit that I don’t think I’m going to finish the rose petal jam either... (the jar is enormous!)

    Hi Zarah - thanks, can you get lots of game birds in Denmark too?

    Hi Elna - thank you, I hope you’ll enjoy the recipe sometime...

    Hi Dagmar - I didn’t know you are vegetarian, so your cats are the only carnivores in your household...?

    Hi Johanna - I’ve also tried fish, veg, rice and bread recipes from the books and all of them worked really well. As I wrote in the post, I haven’t been to Moro yet. Let me know when you try!

    Hi Chefdoc - thanks, if you’re quail fan I think it’s worth trying, although I don’t think it’s to everyone’s taste.

    Hi Akiko - thank you for your kind note, I’m glad to hear that you live in London (do you mind me asking who told you about this blog? I guess it was one of my friends...) It must be interesting to have seen a lot of different cooking styles in your life! I agree that the liquid salted caramel truffle was divine. I was going to make a post about salted caramel souffle soon...
    I’m glad you like the Moro book too and I’m sure your quail was delicious! BTW, I use Minolta A2.

    Posted by keiko | 12 April 2005 #
  • Keiko,
    Why must you make me so hungry at work? They both look so delicious! Although I have to agree with Mathew on the rose petals. For some reason I strongly associate rose taste with eating my grandma’s hand cream...

    Posted by megwoo | 15 April 2005 #
  • Hi Megwoo - I think I have to agree about the connection between rose and grandma’s hand cream... but this dish was delicious! Seriously!

    Posted by keiko | 18 April 2005 #
  • I voted this the recipe of the week and linked it on my blog,

    It looks so beautiful.

    Posted by Suebob | 18 April 2005 #
  • Hi Suebob - thank you for voting for the recipe, I’m sorry you can’t eat it though... I found an ice-cream recipe with rose petals, so I might post that sometime!

    Posted by keiko | 19 April 2005 #
  • this looks amazing, thanks for posting the recipe maybe one day when i get around to getting quail i will make this!!

    Posted by kanikaa | 11 January 2006 #
  • Hi kanikaa - thanks so much for your kind notes, I hope you like the flavours too.

    Posted by keiko | 20 January 2006 #
  • Quail receipe

    Posted by Norton Pierre | 23 March 2007 #

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