Grilled Quail on Green Bean, Young Leek, Frisee and Fingerling Potato Salad with Roasted Fig Vinaigrette

Adapted from Chef Elisabeth Schwarz, at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, in Livermore, California. Grilled quail and potatoes give this salad a hearty quality. Look for quail at a specialty gourmet shop or butcher and ask for it to be semi-boned (rib cage removed).

Wine recommendations: Chef Schwarz recommends Wente 2002 Riva Ranch Reserve Chardonnay with this salad. Carolyn Wente likes Wente Vineyards Reliz Creek Reserve Pinot Noir.

  • •4 quail, semi-boned
  • •About 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • •Salt and pepper to taste
  • •6 medium or 4 large ripe black mission figs, stems removed and halved
  • •1/2 pound blue lake beans or haricots verts, cleaned
  • •1/2 to 3/4 pound fingerling potatoes, washed and quartered lengthwise and placed in a bowl of cold water
  • •2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • •1 bunch baby leeks, cleaned and sliced into rounds and then into half moons
  • •1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • •1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • •1 head frisĂ©e lettuce, washed and dark green leaves removed

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium. Brush the quails with olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the figs and sear until they begin to caramelize in the pan. Place the skillet in the hot oven for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Drain and toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them into the refrigerator to cool.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the potatoes and place them into the oil in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, shaking the pan so the potatoes do not stick, for about 3 minutes or until they begin to turn to a golden brown color. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tender and easy to pierce with a fork.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan set over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the leeks and cook, stirring and shaking the pan for 5-7 minutes, or until they are very tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the figs from the oven and set aside to cool. In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, purée the cooled figs with the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the quails on the hot grill breast side down and cook, turning them with tongs every 2-3 minutes, for a total of 8-10 minutes or until the breast is springy yet firm to the touch and the meat has a slightly pink tinge. Place the frisée into a bowl, add the potatoes, beans and leeks and all but a few teaspoons of the fig vinaigrette (or vinaigrette to taste). Toss gently until all the vegetables are evenly coated.

Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Divide the salad evenly on four serving plates. Top each plate with 1 quail and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

Published on July 6, 2010