Ginger-Lacquered Quail with Vanilla Roasted Pineapple

At AZ, Chefs Yeo and Maffeo serve this as an appetizer. But it also makes a light yet flavorful main course. Simply double the number of quail; there will be enough pineapple and ginger glaze with the quantities given.

Wine recommendations: "To stand up to the sweetness of the pineapple I look for an off-dry wine with good acidity," says AZ’s wine director, Dan Perlman. To that end he suggests a Riesling or Gewürztraminer, or Sokol Blosser’s Evolution, a blend of those two varieties plus Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muller-Thurgau, Sémillon and Sylvaner. Fruity red wines will also work, as long as they aren’t heavily oaked. Look for a Barbera or a Zinfandel.

  • For the pineapple:
  • 1 large pineapple, peeled, cored and cut
  • into ½-inch rings
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp
  • scraped, or ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • For the quail:
  • 1¼ cups pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 dried Thai bird chilies (or 1 dried
  • árbol chile)
  • 2 fresh jalapeno chilies, roughly sliced
  • 4 semi-boneless whole quail*
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • (*Note: A semi-boneless quail is one which has been deboned except for the legs and wings.)

To prepare the pineapple: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Stir together the brandy, vinegar, sugar and vanilla pulp or extract in a large bowl. Toss the pineapple rings in the brandy mixture until well coated. Spread the pineapple in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, basting, until golden brown and glazed, about 20 minutes.

To prepare the ginger-pineapple glaze: Combine the pineapple juice, ginger, dried chilies and fresh chilies in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until reduced to a thick syrup, about 5 to 7 minutes. Strain the syrup into a large mixing bowl, discarding the ginger and chilies. (The recipe can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance.)

To prepare the quail: Rinse the quail, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge the quail in flour.

Just before serving, preheat the broiler. Place the quail on a broiler pan and drizzle both sides with the oil. Broil until crisp and browned on both sides, about 7 minutes total.
To serve: Transfer the quail to a platter and drizzle with the ginger-pineapple glaze. Serve immediately, with the pineapple rings. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Published on July 1, 2010