One of the smallest poultry birds, quail is available all year round, sold ready-prepared and ready to roast. Although very small, each bird has quite a lot of meat on the breast - serve 1 per person as a starter, 2 for a main course.
How to cook
Quail is best roasted, but can also be spatchcocked (split in half and opened out), then barbecued or grilled. They are quite lean so should be basted to prevent the meat from drying out. Wrap in streaky bacon before roasting and brush with a little oil or butter. Roast at 200°c/180°c fan oven, Gas 6 for 25 minutes each. To test if cooked - pierce the thickest part of the meat with a skewer - the juices should run clear. If the juices are pink, continue to cook a little longer. Allow the birds to stand for 5 minutes before serving. Quail is traditionally served with game chips and redcurrant jelly.
To grill or barbecue spatchcocked quail, marinade first to tenderise the meat then brush with melted butter and cook for 15-20 minutes. Test if cooked (as above).