Ballottine of Quail
This elegant dish mirrors its graceful surroundings at Michabelle, a large old-fashioned Southern mansion. Stuffed, boned quail are sliced and served with a nest of vermicelli holding two truffle-liver mousse quenelle “eggs.” The dish is accompanied by a port wine sauce, mustard sauce, and champagne grapes.
- Mustard Sauce
- Creole or Dijon-style mustard - 1/4 cup
- Home-made Mayonnaise - 2 tablespoons
- Truffle-Liver Mousse
- Onion - 1/4, minced
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Duck livers - 2
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Dried Thyme - 1/4 teaspoon
- Chicken Stock - 1/4 cup
- Truffle - 1, chopped fine
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Ground Pork - 1 cup
- Mushrooms - 4, large, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Herbed Salt Blend - 1 teaspoon
- Quail - 2, boned
- Duck livers - 2
- Chicken Stock - 1-1/2 cups
- Vermicelli - 1 cup
- Port Wine Glaze
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Veal Stock - 2/3 cup
- Port Wine - 1/2 cup
- Champagne Grapes - 2 small clusters, (very small), plus 14 to 20 loose grapes
To make the mustard sauce: Blend the mustard and mayonnaise. Put in a squeeze bottle and chill until ready to use.
To make the mousse: In a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in the butter until softened. Season the duck livers with salt and pepper and place in the pan with the onions. Add the thyme. Increase the heat to medium-high and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until the livers are just done to the center. Remove from heat and put in a blender or processor with the chicken stock; puree. Fold the chopped truffle into the mixture. Fold a large dollop of whipped cream into the mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Keep chilled until ready to use; let stand out of the refrigerator for 15 minutes to warm slightly before using.
To prepare the quail: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Mix the ground pork and mushrooms together; season with salt, pepper, and herbed salt blend. Cut the wing tips from the quail. Place a duck liver into the cavity of each, then stuff with the pork mixture. Cut two large squares of aluminum foil. Place each quail on a foil square and form the quail into a natural bird shape with your hands. Roll in the foil, then crimp the ends, twisting them tightly. Place the quail packets in a roasting pan and pour the chicken stock around the packets. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, to desired degree of doneness. Remove and set aside.
To prepare the vermicelli: Place a large saute pan or skillet of salted water on the burner. Form two nests from the vermicelli and place them in the pan; you can refine the nests when they have cooked slightly and softened. Turn on medium-high heat and cook until the vermicelli is al dente, about 4 to 6 minutes after the water simmers. Remove the nests, one at a time, with a spatula and place on a plate or work surface.
To prepare the glaze: Spread the sugar across a medium cast-iron or heavy skillet and place over medium-high heat. Let the sugar melt and caramelize (turn golden brown). Remove from the heat and carefully add the veal stock, stirring to mix the caramel and sauce. The mixture will bubble up, then settle. Add the port, stir together, and place over medium-low heat to reduce. When the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency, remove from heat. Keep warm.
To serve: Unwrap the quail and cut each diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place a sliced quail on each warmed serving plate, fanning the slices around one side of the plate. Position a cluster of grapes at one end of each quail. Scroll the plates with mustard sauce. Trim the vermicelli nests and shape them into rounds; place one in the center of each plate. Put two small truffle-liver quenelles in each nest. Sprinkle the plates with the loose grapes. Drizzle the quenelles and quail with port wine sauce.