Warm Quail Salad
(Ensalada Tibia de Codorniz) While At Laja, the best restaurant in the Valle de Guadalupe, chef-owner Jair Tellez maked this dish for us using wild local quail and whatever field greens and fresh herbs were available.
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 semiboneless quail, quartered
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 – 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 – 2 oz. (about 4 cups) mixed baby lettuce, chicory, and/or other salad leaves
- Leaves of 3 small branches tarragon, chopped 3 chives, cut into 1″ pieces
- Pour all but 1 tbsp. of the oil into a large heavy skillet and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Meanwhile, pat quail dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add quail to skillet skin side down and cook until deep golden brown, 4–5 minutes, then turn and cook other side for 2–3 minutes more. Transfer quail to a medium bowl and set aside to let quail juices accumulate in bottom of bowl for about 5 minutes.
- Divide quail evenly between 2 plates, leaving accumulated juices in bowl. Stir remaining oil and 3⁄4 tsp. of lemon juice into bowl with quail juices and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lettuces, tarragon, and chives to bowl and toss well. Adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, if you like. Divide salad equally between the plates. Drizzle salads equally between the plates. Drizzle salads with remaining dressing left in bowl.