Molasses Quail, Blackberry Agrodolce, Marcona Almonds, and Wilted Greens

Added by: Mountain Standard

Molasses Quail, Blackberry Agrodolce, Marcona Almonds, and Wilted Greens
Serves: 8 People
Molasses Marinade:
For 8 whole semi-boneless Quail
2 cups water
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup molasses
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 oz. shallot, sliced
1 lemon, peel only
A few sprigs thyme
In a mixing bowl add the molasses to the water and whisk very well. Next add the Worcestershire, sherry vinegar, shallot, lemon peel, and thyme and whisk again to fully incorporate. Place the whole quail in a non-reactive container large enough to hold the birds and all of the marinade. Pour the marinade over the quail and place lid or plastic wrap over the container. Place the container in the refrigerator and marinate overnight, at least 12 hours.

Blackberry Agrodolce:
2 pints blackberries
1 C. balsamic vinegar
1 C. red wine vinegar
1 C. water
1 C. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 t. juniper berries
1 T. pink peppercorns
1 pod star anise

Either in a sauté pan on a stove top or in a low temperature oven, place all of the spices in the pan and roast over low heat until very fragrant. Once the spices are toasted, transfer them to a large piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth into a sachet. In a medium sized sauce pot place 1 pint of the blackberries, the sachet of spices, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, water, and sugar. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the ingredients to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to simmer the sauce until it reduces to 1/3 of the original volume. Remove the spice sachet and add the remaining blackberries. Cool the sauce to room temperature; it should continue to thicken as it cools.

Marcona Almonds:
1 C. Marcona Almonds, fried and salted
You could replace the marcona almonds with regular whole/peeled almonds if necessary. Most Marcona almonds come fried and salted when you buy them, if not, you will need to toast them in oil until golden brown and the salt them liberally. Lightly chop the almonds into large pieces.
Wilted Greens:
1 large head Bitter greens, such as escarole, frisee, kale, swiss chard, etc.
2 medium shallots, julienne fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch, crushed red chile flake
½ lemon, juice only

Remove the core from the greens and wash very well. Chop the greens into large 2” pieces and set aside. Remember that these greens will wilt to 1/3 of their original volume. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan large enough to hold the greens. Add the shallot and cook until they soften and lightly caramelize, then add the garlic, chile flake, and the greens and stir/sauté quickly to prevent the shallot from browning too much. As the greens are cooking down, add the lemon juice and a good amount of salt and pepper. Continue to cook, only a minute or two, until the greens are just wilted. They should taste slightly acidic, in order to counter balance the sweetness of the blackberries.

Final Preparation:
Prepare a hot grill (preferably wood fired) or large cast iron pan. Drain the quail from the marinade and pat them dry with a towel. Season the quail with salt and pepper and place over the grill or in the pan and sear “hard”. The sugars in the marinade should caramelize very deeply, almost to the point of burning. Turn the quail over and repeat the sear. At this point the quail should be medium in doneness and are cooked, if you wish them to be done more, simply continue to cook over the grill or in an oven.
Place a small amount of the greens in an individual bowl. Cut the quail in half and place over the greens. Top the quail with another small pinch of the greens. Sauce the entire dish liberally with the blackberry Agrodolce. Finish with a good crumble of the marcona almonds. Serve immediately.

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