2000s Recipes + Menus

Sautéed Quail with Fall Greens and Huckleberries

  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:1 3/4 hr
November 2008
Sautéed quail is the perfect dish to transition from summer to fall. It is hearty yet not too heavy for a warm Indian-summer evening. The birds are seasoned with a flavorful coriander and fennel rub, then simply sautéed and served on a bed of greens with huckleberries. In late fall, I also add thick slices of Fuyu persimmons. Their pumpkin-colored flesh adds a splash of color, and their sweetness is the ideal counterpoint to the richness of the game birds.
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 (4- to 6-oz) semiboneless quail
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz mixed greens such as mesclun (8 cups)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup huckleberries or wild blueberries (fresh or thawed frozen)
  • Garnish:

    sliced Fuyu persimmons
  • Special equipment:

    an electric coffee/spice grinder
  • Toast seeds in a small dry heavy skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then finely grind in grinder. Shake mixture in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, discarding solids. Mix spice powder with kosher salt and 2 tsp pepper.
  • Pat quail dry and rub all over with spice mixture. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  • Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook 4 quail, turning once, until golden brown and juices are rosy, 8 to 14 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered. Cook remaining 4 quail with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in same manner.
  • Whisk together extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss with greens and sea salt to taste. Divide among 4 plates and top with quail, then sprinkle with berries.
Cooks’ note: If using thawed frozen berries, drain and pat dry.
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