Quail with Brown Butter, Cider, and Sage
The luxury of butter flavors this dish. Quails are browned in butter — lots of butter — and finished in the oven. They come to the table on a bed of wilted spinach (wilted in butter, of course) and basted with butter sauce flavored with reduced apple cider and matchstick bits of apple. You will be dining on raw vegetables for days before and after, but this delicious dinner is worth the splurge.
- Apple Cider - 1 cup
- Quail - 4 whole
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Unsalted Butter - 6 ounces (12 tablespoons; 3/4 cup)
- Granny Smith apple - 1 large
- Sage Leaves - 16 small
- Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Spinach - 1 bunch, washed and dried
- Sweet Potato Chips (see Basics) - 12 - 16 fried
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the apple cider down until only 2 tablespoons of liquid remain.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the quail with salt and pepper. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and brown the quails on both sides. Put the quails in a roasting pan and roast for 12 - 15 minutes.
Leaving the skin on, cut the apple in matchstick julienne. Cover with cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice to keep the apple pieces from browning.
In the same saute pan, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Swirling the butter to keep it from burning, slowly let it brown. When the butter is a light nut brown in color, add the reduced cider, drained apple pieces, sage, and lemon juice. Continue to cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saute pan and wilt the spinach slowly over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve: Mound spinach on each serving plate. Place a quail on the spinach on each plate and spoon brown butter sauce over the quail. Garnish with sweet potato chips.