Quail, grapes and goat’s cheese

Heat oven to 180°C.

For the glazed quails, prepare 4 quails by removing wings and setting aside. Remove legs and trim crown. Place the quail legs and crowns on a tray and set aside in the fridge until needed.

To make the glaze, chop the reserved wings, trimmings and remaining 2 whole quail into small pieces. Place a large fry pan on the stove top over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chopped quail and fry, until quail pieces are golden brown and caramelised.

Add the golden sultanas, spring onion, orange zest, black garlic and salt and pepper to taste and cook until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes.

Add 180ml of the verjus, red wine, saba and 1 cup of water, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduce by half, about 12 minutes.

Once reduced, strain the glaze through a fine sieve, reserving solids. Transfer the liquid to a clean saucepan and place on a medium heat. Continue to simmer the glaze until reduce to approximately 150ml.

When reduced, add the remaining 40ml of verjus. Place the grapes in a small, fine mesh sieve and press with the back of a spoon to release the juice. Add the fresh grape juice to the glaze and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Remove from heat and set aside, keeping warm, until needed.

Reserve any quail meat from reserved solids, ensure there are no bones and set aside until needed. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the glaze solids mixture, ensuring there are no bones, and set aside until needed.

For the macerated grapes, slice each grape into 4 discs and place the two centre slices in a small bowl. Add the verjus and toss to coat. Set the bowl aside and allow the grapes to macerate until needed. Reserve the trimmed ends for the grape jam.

For the grape chutney, place a medium fry pan on the stove top over low heat. Add olive oil, spring onion, sultanas and reserved trimmed ends of grapes and cook gently until mixture is soft, about 10 minutes.

Deglaze pan with the verjus, scraping the bottom of the pan with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Place the whole, fresh grapes in a small, fine mesh sieve and press with the back of a spoon to release the juice. Add the fresh grape juice to the pan and stir to combine. Continue to simmer until the mixture has a jam like consistency, then set aside, keeping warm, until needed.

For the smoked goat’s cheese, place milk and lavender into a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Remove form heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Once infused, strain the milk through a fine sieve and set aside to cool until needed.

Meanwhile, place goats curd in a medium bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip lightly. Fold in the cooled lavender milk, a teaspoon at a time, until soft peaks form.

Cover the bowl tightly with two layers of cling film. Prepare a smoking gun with applewood smoking chips. Pierce the cling film with the nozzle of the smoking gun, ignite gun and allow the bowl to fill with smoke. Remove nozzle and cover bowl tightly with another layer of cling film to seal and set the bowl aside for 10 minutes to smoke. Once curd is smoked, set the bowl aside in the fridge until needed.

For the dried vine leaves, place vine leaves onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the pre-heated oven until crisp but not brown, about 10 minutes. Once dry, remove from oven and set aside to cool on the tray until needed.

For the Salad, place olive oil, verjus, saba and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl and whisk together to emulsify. Add the Grape Chutney and reserved quail meat and reserved glaze stock solids and toss well to combine. Set aside until needed.

For the Blanched Grapes, place a small saucepan of water on the stovetop over high heat and bring to the boil. Prepare a small bowl of iced water.

When water is boiling, plunge the whole grapes into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and transfer immediately to the iced water bath to refresh. Once cool, peel the grapes and set aside until needed.

To cook quail, lightly oil quail legs and crowns with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste. Place a large frypan over medium heat and add quail legs. Cook on one side for 3 minutes then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Take quail legs out of pan and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Add the crown sections to the pan, skin side down and cook for 4–5 minutes turning to seal all sides until golden brown and cooked through. Remove quail crowns from pan

French the quail legs by cutting the skin and sinew away from the bottom of the leg and scraping the leg bone with a small knife to push any meat to the thick end of the leg and leave a clean bone exposed. Remove the breasts from the quail crown and trim to neaten.

Use a pastry brush to brush the pieces of quail with the warm glaze to coat evenly. Set glazed quail aside, keeping warm, until needed.

To serve, place a 10cm ring cutter into the centre of each serving plate. Spoon smoked goat’s çheese into the base of each ring to 1cm high and use the back of the spoon to level. Carefully remove the ring.

Place the dried vine leaves in a fine mesh sieve and crush with fingertips to sprinkle a fine dusting of dried vine leaf powder over each plate. Sprinkle a spoonful of finely chopped toasted walnuts over the smoked goat’s cheese.

Pile salad into the centre of the goats cheese, leaving a 1cm border of cheese showing. Divide macerated grapes evenly between the plates, scattered on top of the Salad. Place 4 blanched grapes on top of the salad on each plate. Top with 2 glazed quail legs and 2 glazed quail breasts on each plate, stacked on top of the salad. Drizzle with a little more warm glaze to finish.

(Courtesy Elena Duggan)



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