Grilled Lightly Spiced Quail with Pomegranate and Walnut Salad.

Ingredients

This is a light and fresh tasting salad and it is delightful to be able to use Irish quail as there are several producers now rearing these lovely little birds in this country. They always feel like a treat and the sweet and succulent flesh is delicious.

Serve this salad on hot plates, otherwise the quail will cool too quickly and become greasy. I like to crack open walnuts from the shell when using and that way I am generally guaranteed a fresh and sweet nut.

The pomegranate molasses used in the dressing is made from the juice of bitter pomegranates and it adds a lovely gentle sharpness to the dressing.  
 
Serves

  • 4 large quail 
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed 
  • ½ star anise 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  •  Juice and zest of 1 lemon 
  • 4 hand-full’s of mixed salad leaves 
  • 3 tablespoons walnut or hazelnut oil 
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds  
  • 12 walnuts, cracked and nuts removed 

Method

  1. Cut the quail in half by pushing your knife straight down through the breast bone. You will end up with 8 quail halves.
  2. Roast the coriander seeds, star anise and cumin seeds separately until lightly toasted. Grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.
  3. Lay the quail halves in a flat dish and sprinkle on the ground spices, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and a pinch of sea salt. Turn the birds in the spicy oil. Allow to marinade for at least an hour.
  4. Wash and dry the salad leaves. Mix the walnut oil and pomegranate molasses for the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper 
  5.  Prepare the pomegranate seeds and walnuts and toss them in 1 tablespoon of the dressing. 
  6.  Heat a heavy cast-iron grill plan until quite hot. Lay the quail breast side down and grill until golden and the skin has crisped. Turn over and repeat the process on the other side. The quail will be in the pan in total for about 20 minutes. 
  7. Divide the salad leaves, walnuts and pomegranate seeds between 4 hot plates. Snuggle 2 cooked quail halves into each salad and drizzle the well whisked dressing over each plate.
  8. Serve immediately.