1½ cupsfregolone Sardo (see note)2 cups(loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves picked and coarsely torn1punnet of amaranth cress, leaves only (see note)1golden shallot, thinly sliced widthways2 tspsalted baby capers, rinsed and drained1 tbspgrapeseed oil4(about 180gm each) jumbo (extra-large) quail, butterflied (see note)20 gmbutterAnchovy dressing2anchovy fillets1clove of garlic1lemon, juice and finely grated rind only2 tbspextra-virgin olive oil
Cook fregolone Sardo in boiling salted water for 12 minutes or until tender, drain, then refresh under cold running water, drain well and set aside.
For anchovy dressing, place anchovies and garlic in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound to a fine paste. Add lemon rind and juice and olive oil and stir to combine. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Combine fregolone Sardo, parsley, amaranth cress, shallot and capers in a bowl and toss lightly to combine. Set aside.
Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, season quail generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, add to pan with butter and cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a platter and drizzle pan juices over. Drizzle anchovy dressing over fregolone Sardo salad, toss gently to combine and serve immediately with quail.
Note Fregolone Sardo is available from Italian delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute with large couscous. Amaranth cress, also called pigweed, has a slight lemon-pepper flavour. It’s available from specialty growers, such as Darling Mills (02) 9655 1339 or select green grocers. If unavailable, substitute with other cress such as red chard or shiso. Jumbo quails are available from select butchers. Ask your butcher to butterfly them for you.