Pickled quails with bitter autumn leaves and barrel-aged feta


  • Serves 6 people

  • 40 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 6 (about 200gm each) quails, trussed
  • 2 white witlof, washed and picked
  • 1 radicchio di Treviso, leaves separated
  • 1 bunch of sorrel, leaves picked
  • 1 heart of frisée lettuce, tough outer leaves trimmed, leaves separated
  • 150 gm barrel-aged feta, coarsely crumbled (see note)
  • Sherry marinade
  • 1 clove of organic Australian garlic (see note)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) sherry vinegar (see note)
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) sweet Spanish sherry
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 400 ml fruity extra-virgin olive oil
01   For sherry marinade, place garlic in a mortar with a good pinch of salt and, using a pestle, finely crush. Transfer to a bowl, add vinegar, sherry and lemon juice, then whisk in oil until emulsified. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
02   Preheat oven to 250C. Heat oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Season quails to taste, add to pan and cook, turning frequently, until browned all over (about 5 minutes), then place in a roasting tray and roast until cooked through (5-10 minutes). Remove from oven and, using a bamboo skewer, prick quails all over to allow marinade to infuse, then place in sherry marinade, submerging them as much as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and stand for 1 hour.
03   Coarsely tear bitter leaves into a bowl, dress with a little of the sherry marinade and season to taste. Scatter over feta and toss to combine. Serve alongside quails.
Note Ben Shewry prefers to use Mt. Vikos Barrel-aged Feta from Greece, a blend of 80 per cent sheep’s milk and 20 per cent goat’s milk that’s been aged in birch barrels for four months. It’s available from Simon Johnson and select delicatessens. Organic Australian garlic is available from farmers’ markets and select greengrocers. If unavailable, substitute with regular garlic. Sherry vinegar is available from gourmet food stores.







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