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Thai spiced quail with cucumber oil and mango salad - Mon, 9th Feb 2009
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So I wanted to use cucumber oil, and I wanted to serve quail. This is the result, and I'm pretty pleased with it. It's got plenty of spice and kick, but the mango balances things out nicely I think. Give it a go and let me know what you think on the forums!

Needs:
For poaching/marinade
2 cups water 100ml light soy
50ml dark soy 100ml chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp brown sugar 4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick 1 tsp Sezchuan pepper, ground
2 tsp Chinese five-spice 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced Ground black pepper, to taste
For the dressing
Juice of 2 limes rind of 1/2 a lime, very finely chopped (minced?)
1 red and 1 green large chilli 2 tsp cucumber oil (see podcast #10 for suppliers)
2 tbsp brown sugar Generous pinch salt
1 tsp minced fresh ginger Ground black pepper, to taste
Main Ingredients:
4 large quail 1 mango
1 lebanese cucumber Peanut oil (for frying)
5-6 tbsp coarse rock salt Fresh coriander (for garnish)

Begin by deboning the quail. I have no real experience in this, but here's how I did it:

Insert the knife into the cavity and cut through the back bone, which will allow you to flatten the bird out (butterfly-style). Then chop through the breast bone so you have two halves. Use your fingers and a small sharp knife (careful!) to separate the rib cage from the breast, and keep working the meat away from the bones until you can completly remove the back bone, while it is still attached to the rib cage. The aim is to end up with a single piece which still contains the leg bones, but not the rib cage, back bone, breast bones or neck. You'll need to chop through the joint between the leg and the spine. Reserve the bones for the stock, and put the deboned pieces back in the fridge for now.

Combine the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a medium saucepan and add the bones. Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour, to make a stock. Strain and discard the solids, then bring the liquid back to the boil. Poach each quail piece in the stock for 8-10 seconds, one at a time, and allow to dry. Repeat this poaching once more. (Supposedly this allows the fat to render properly and helps crisp the skin.)

Allow both the quail pieces and the stock to cool completely (refridgerate if required) then put the pieces back in the stock and marinate in the fridge for a few hours.

While they're marinating, prepare the dressing by coombining all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and set aside until serving.

Remove the quail pieces from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Put the rock salt and the quail into a freezer bag and shake well to cover the quail. Put back in the fridge for another hour or two.

When almost ready to serve, slice the cucumber and mango and arrange on each plate. Remove the quail from the salt and discard the salt. Brush the salt completely off the quail. Heat oil in a heavy skillet or pan, then fry the quail skin side down first, for about 1 minute each side for rare, or to your liking. Plate a few pieces of quail on each plate and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the dressing. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve.

Serves 3-4 as an entree.


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