I often find myself wondering why is it that French people are so charmingly skinny, their kids don't scream and they enjoy rivers of vin rouge without batting an eyelid, nor gaining any weight for that matter. If I can't quite come around a rational explanation of their paedology inner talents, it seems to me that one of the reasons behind their being so unfussy about their body is that they eat varied, and squeeze in loads of proteins. Basically, you would enter any bistrot at lunch time, and you would be faced with a series of formules, that is a fixed menu where, according to your appetite, you can choose if having a starter and a main or a main and a dessert. You can get all three courses but then you would get weird looks. Why? Well, because less is more. This representative dish from the Gascony region of France awaken atmopheres linked with harvest time, a period when root vegetables begin to appear at the neighbourhood markets in Paris (there's more than one, where farmers from all regions of France go everyday in different Parisian quartiers to provide nothing but the excellence from the land), the grapes in the countryside are picked at their sweet apix and hunting season is in full swing.
Quail is a petite, full on flesh, utterly delicious bird, which you can nowadays easily find at good supermarkets (but I do recommend you to go to the farmer's market as often as you can, because it's the only way to actually see the food you get on your table in its raw state).
Roasted quails with grapes
Serves 4 people as a main course:
- 4 clean quails without giblets
- 250 gr. green seedless grapes
- 250 gr. red seedless grapes
- 4 slices of smoked bacon
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 40 grams of dairy unsalted butter
- 4 whole cloves
- a pinch of sea salt
Pre-heat the oven at 180°. Season each quail internally with a pinch of salt and a whole clove. Make sure you harness each one with a slice of bacon, then tie them with kitchen twine.
Transfer the quails in a pan with flakes of butter and white wine, and transfer them in the oven at 180° for 20 minutes, brushing them from time to time while cooking. Then combine the washed and dried grapes, lightly season with salt and cook for further 15 minutes.
Serve warm with beautiful red wine to accompany. I like it with a glass of Valpolicella.
With love and grapes,