Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Five spice quail

Serves 2

Quail, one of the most underrated birds we can roast, which needs to be eaten with your fingers to be honest as there's no way a knife and fork can scrape off the meat from those little bones the same way our teeth can. It is difficult to know exactly what to serve on the side with something you eat in this manner; baked rice, cous cous or lentils all work here

4 oven ready quail
1 large clove garlic
1 tsp hot ground chilli powder
2 heaped tsp Chinese five spice powder
juice of 1 lemon
2 tblsp groundnut oil

Set the oven at 200°c/gas mark 6. Peel and mash the garlic. Put it in a bowl then stir in the ground chilli, the five spice powder, lemon juice and the oil.

Season generously with sea salt - a good half teaspoon. Dip the quail in and toss them gently round. You can leave it like this for several hours if it suits you, though just one will do.

Put the birds and any marinating juices into a small roasting tin. They should be close, but not actually touching. Roast them for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size, turning once.

The little birds will look quite dark after the full cooking time, but this is fine. Serve them piping hot with orange or lemon wedges to squeeze and some crusty bread.