Quail make for a very hands-on meal, but this is all part of the fun. If you wish to dine a little more elegantly you can ask your butcher to partly bone the birds by removing the ribcage.
- 8 butterflied quail (about 900gm)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 6 figs
- 100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 115 gm vermicelli, broken into 4cm lengths
- 400 gm basmati rice
Baharat spice mix
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 small cinnamon stick, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp whole cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom pods
- ½ nutmeg, finely grated
- 1For buttered rice, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vermicelli and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Add rice, 1 tsp salt and 1 litre water and stir to combine. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff up the rice with a fork.
- 2For baharat spice mix, grind all the spices in a spice grinder or with a mortar to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks.
- 3Preheat oven to 220C. Place quail flesh-side up on a tray and pat dry with paper towels, then turn and season skin with sea salt and baharat. Heat oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add quail skin-side up and fry for 1 minute, then transfer to the oven and cook until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Serve with rice and torn figs.
Drink Suggestion: Spicy young grenache. Drink suggestion by Max Allen