Roasted quail with small olives
“Roasted quail! How can one convey to those from a different gastronomic culture the sense of elation that fills me when I think of roasted quail? The essential elements here are the pancetta and the small olives. They combine well with the wine to form a most appetising sauce.”
16 slices pancetta
a handful of sage leaves
80 ml white wine
a few sprigs of rosemary
24 small olives
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
200 ml chicken stock
30 g butter
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the small wings from the quail (as they look unsightly). Roughly chop 8 slices of pancetta (reserve 8 whole slices for wrapping) and stuff into the quail with the sage. Tie the quail neatly and wrap each with a slice of pancetta.
Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan and sear the quail all over. Add a splash of the white wine and simmer for a few moments. Transfer the quail and pan juices to a baking tray and scatter on the rosemary sprigs, olives and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes until the quail is cooked pink.
Remove from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place while you finish the sauce.
Heat the roasting juices, add the rest of the white wine and chicken stock and simmer until reduced. Whisk in the butter to form a nice glossy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Serve the quail on a mound of white polenta with the sauce and olives.