Chicken-Fried Quail with Curried Lentils, Herb Yogurt and Watermelon/Tomato Salad with Feta

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Credit: Gregory Denton, Executive Chef, Metrovino, Portland, Ore.
The National Culinary Review, November/December 2010


6 quail, partially deboned
3 cups buttermilk
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. Hungarian paprika
1 t. cayenne
1½ gallons canola oil, for deep-frying
1 cup diced or crumbled feta cheese
4 quail eggs, fried sunny-side up
2 T. chopped chives
1 t. sumac
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
Curried Lentils (recipe follows)
Herbed Yogurt (recipe follows)
Watermelon/Tomato Salad (recipe follows)

Curried Lentils
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. chopped garlic
½ cup diced yellow onion
¼ cup peeled, diced carrot
¼ cup diced celery
1 cup lentils du Puy, rinsed, picked through
2 T. curry powder
3 cups water
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Herbed Yogurt
1 cup plain organic yogurt
2 T. chopped fresh dill
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. chopped fresh mint
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Watermelon/Tomato Salad
2 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups cubed heirloom tomato
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Separate each quail into four pieces: two breasts with wings attached, two hindquarters. Put pieces in bowl with buttermilk; toss to combine. Marinate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

2. Remove quail from buttermilk; season with salt and pepper. Put flour in bowl with paprika and cayenne; combine. Toss quail pieces in seasoned flour (coat well). Deep-fry in 375ºF oil 4-5 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and juicy (but cooked) inside. Remove from oil; drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt. Keep warm.

3. Per serving: With large spoon, place 2 scoops lentils in center of plate. Drizzle thick line herbed yogurt around lentils, staying about ¼-inch from rim. Arrange quail around and on top of lentils as follows: Place 3 legs, then stack 3 breasts in between legs and slightly toward center of plate. Place 3 piles watermelon/tomato salad on top of drizzled yogurt; put ¼ cup feta cheese on top of salad. Place fried quail egg on quail. Finish with sprinkles of chives and sumac and drizzle of olive oil.

Curried Lentils
Method: Put olive oil in medium-sized pot; heat over medium flame. Add garlic; sauté until golden-brown. Add onion, carrot and celery; sauté 2 minutes. Add lentils and curry powder; mix well. Add water. Add 1 t. salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover pot with lid; cook 20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes off heat before uncovering. Check seasoning; adjust with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Herbed Yogurt
Method: Combine all ingredients in bowl. Keep chilled.

Watermelon/Tomato Salad
Method: Combine watermelon, tomato and olive oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


4 servings


Main Dish, Poultry, The National Culinary Review

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