Don’t be intimidated by quail—it’s easy to cook and, treated right, far more delicious than the average chicken. This recipe is best grilled but can also be made in a hot oven over a bed of thyme branches. Two quail make a serving.
- 8 quail, about 4 oz. each
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. chopped thyme
- 6 juniper berries
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
- 2 cups dry white or rosé wine
- Thyme branches, as needed
- 8 day-old baguette slices, cut 1/2-inch thick on a long diagonal
- Black Olive Tapanade
- Put quail in a deep-sided dish, wide enough to hold them in one layer. Season each bird generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Put a pinch of thyme in the cavity of each bird. Distribute the juniper berries, garlic, and bay leaves in the pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over the quail; then, using your hands, coat with the oil and seasonings. Add the wine and let the quail marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature, turning occasionally.
- Light a grill and, if using vine cuttings, lay them over the heated charcoal. Remove quail from marinade and pat dry. Place a grate over the coals when they are medium-hot and let it heat. Oil lightly.
- Lay the quail on the grill in one layer. Scatter thyme branches over the quail and let them cook for about 8 minutes, or until golden on one side. Turn them over, allowing thyme branches to smolder. Grill for another 8 minutes or so, until cooked through. Make sure they are cooked adequately. They should be firm, well-browned, but not scorched. Juices should run clear when quail are probed with a paring knife. Transfer grilled quail to a warm platter to rest.
- Lightly brush baguette slices with oil, and toast on both sides on the grill until golden. Spread lightly with tapenade and tuck one toast beneath each bird.