Chef, restaurateur, food writer and author Skye Gyngell recently released her fourth cookbook, named for her new London restaurant. Dive into some of the recipes that have made her one of the most celebrated chefs in the city. With a spotlight on fresh, flavorful and inventive cuisine that makes the most of local gardens and markets, Spring has definitely sprung. This little bird told us.
Quail is one of my very favorite little birds. Deeply flavorful and deliciously plump, each one gives a few succulent mouthfuls and perfect little bones that are irresistible to gnaw on! This is an elegant and suave appetizer with complex and interesting flavors.
- 4 quails
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted spice mix (mixed coriander, cumin, fennel and cardamom seeds, toasted and freshly ground)
- 1 dried red chili, crumbled
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- About 12 baby plum tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 small celery root
- juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
- 1 small radicchio, leaves separated
- 12 to 16 shelled fresh walnuts
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- A bunch marjoram, leaves only
- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the quail
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the quail in a bowl. Sprinkle over the spice mix and dried chili and season well with salt. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil and turn the quail to coat. Transfer the seasoned quail to a roasting tray.
Place the tomatoes in a small roasting tray, trickle over the wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss lightly. Season with a little salt.
Roast the quail on the top shelf of the oven, with the tomatoes on a shelf below, about 12 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, peel the celery root and slice into fine rounds, then into matchsticks. Immediately drop into a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice added to prevent discoloration. For the dressing, put the crème fraîche in a bowl with the mustard and a small pinch of salt and stir well to combine.
Once the quail are cooked, cover loosely with foil and rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool slightly.
Meanwhile, dress the radicchio with lemon juice and olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Drain the celery root and toss in a separate bowl with the mustard dressing.
For the marjoram oil, pound the marjoram leaves with a pinch of salt, using a mortar and pestle, then gradually work in the olive oil — you will have a lovely thick sauce.
Arrange the salad leaves, tomatoes, and celery root on plates and sit the quail on top. Finish with a scattering of walnuts and a few spoonfuls of marjoram oil. Serve immediately.