AT A GLANCE
|01||Mix brown sugar, 25gm salt and 2 litres water in a container. Set aside to dissolve (1 hour).|
|02||Break down quail, separating legs (with thighs), crowns and wings. Place crowns and legs in brine and refrigerate for 3 hours (reserve wings). Drain, then steam quail pieces in a steam oven at 58C for 35 minutes, then take out crowns, increase temperature to 75C and cook legs for another 10 minutes. Place quail pieces on racks in a warm spot in the kitchen to dry.|
|03||Sprinkle caster sugar evenly in a hot frying pan and cook without stirring, but swirling pan, until dark caramel (1½-2 minutes). Remove from heat and add the vinegar. Stir until sugar is fully dissolved, then pour into a bowl and set aside.|
|04||For heirloom carrots, melt butter and add miso paste and ½ tsp sea salt and combine with a stick blender. Place carrots in a large sous-vide bag and add miso butter. Seal and cook in a 97C water-bath until tender (15-20 minutes). Cool carrots slightly, open the bag and drain. Smoke the carrots in a cold smoker (5-10 minutes; see note). Spread them out on cooling racks, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake in a ventilated oven or a dehydrator at 85C until starting to shrivel slightly (2-3 hours).|
|05||For carrot miso sauce, preheat oven to 180C. Roast the chicken wings and reserved quail wings on an oven tray lined with baking paper until golden brown (50-60 minutes). Drain the fat off and transfer the wings to a pressure cooker, cover with 1 litre cold water and cook at 110C (low pressure; 1¾ hours). Let the pressure dissipate naturally and drain the stock. Skim off the fat and reduce the stock in a small saucepan over medium heat to a jus-like consistency, or around 25ml. Pass through a coffee filter to remove any sediment. Peel and juice the carrots, then strain the juice through a fine strainer into a saucepan and heat until the carotene starts to separate. Skim this off with a ladle into a bowl and continue skimming, removing sediment, until no liquid remains (8-10 minutes). Blend skimmings with xanthan gum. Heat chicken jus and add carrot skimmings, miso paste and butter and blend to combine, then season with verjuice and sea salt to taste.|
|06||Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 210C. Brush caramel on the steamed and slightly dried quail with a pastry brush. Just before serving, deep-fry quail in small batches until golden brown (10-15 seconds), then carve the breasts off the bone. Reduce oil temperature to 180C. Deep-fry carrot tops in small batches until crisp (20-30 seconds; be careful, oil will spit). Drain, dust lightly with instant dashi powder and serve with quail, carrot and miso sauce and heirloom carrots.|
Note Jurassic quail are available through Redgate Farm and selected farmers' markets and butchers. You can cold-smoke the quail in a Weber - place smoking chips in a disposable foil tray, heat over a high flame until smoking, then transfer to a Weber with carrots and close the lid. Instant dashi powder is available from Japanese grocers. Xanthan gum is a stabilising agent available from health-food shops.