This recipe for quail with lemon tagliatelle is more easy than you might think such an exotic dish has any right to be. It looks intimidating because they’re such little birds, aren’t they? And they sort of take a praying position in the pan, which makes photographing them rather tricky if you want people to actually want to eat quail. Ahem.
Quail is called “cailles” in French. (pronounced kye with an accent on the y sound).
For the quail, melt 3.5 tablespoons (50 grams) of butter and 4 Tablespoons of honey in a sauce pan over low heat. Take it off the heat and add 2 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Before you apply the marinade, salt and pepper the quail.
The use a brush to apply the marinade on the quail. Cover it and let sit for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re in a pinch you can skip this step.
When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 415°F (210°C). Put them in the oven – covered with aluminum foil for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and re-apply the sauce from the bottom of the pan. They go back into the oven for another 25-30 minutes.
When there’s still about 30 minutes to go in the oven, begin your preparation for the tagliatelle. Finely chop 3 fresh sage leaves (or you can use a scant teaspoon of dried). And zest one lemon.
Put the minced sage and lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup (125 grams) of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of parmesan, in the blender and mix.
Boil salted water for the tagliatelle – you won’t be adding more salt to the pasta since the parmesan is salty enough. I followed the directions for cooking my gluten-free variety of tagliatelle, but other varieties often take between 4-6 minutes. It should say on the package.
When the pasta is drained, put a pat of butter in the pan, followed by the cream mixture and heat until bubbling gently.
Add the pasta and mix.
When you’re ready to serve, put one portion on a plate and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and top with a portion of quail. You can serve salad on the side, or after the meal like the French, or before the meal as an appetiser.
I made this dish late spring for a friend (and forgot to blog about it until now) so we ate salad as an appetiser and GF chocolate fondant for dessert. As a whole, the menu was not overly-taxing.
- 8 Quails
- 50 grams butter (3.5 T)
- 4T honey
- 2T Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- 250 g tagliatelle or 9 oz dried
- zest of one lemon
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 sage leaves
- 3T parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
- Melt butter and honey. Add Dijon mustard to that.
- Salt and pepper quail and brush with marinade.
- Cover and let sit for 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 415°F or 210°C.
- Put quail in, covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 25-30 minutes.
- For the tagliatelle, boil salted water. (Begin the cream preparations before you cook the spaghetti).
- Cook the pasta and drain.
- Mince the sage leaves, and add that with zest, parmesan, and cream and blend it.
- Melt a pat of butter in a pan and add the cream. Bring to a light bubble and add the cooked pasta.
- Mix and serve the pasta with one or two quail and salad on the side.
So – you! Are you game? (ha ha – sorry for the pun) Or are you horrified by the idea of making quail? Do taglia-tell!
Stop, Jennie, stop!