What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pan-Roasted Quail

One of P’s friends gifted us with five fresh quail the other day. I know. You wish *you* had friends like that, don’t you?

I had never prepared or even eaten quail before, so after finding a recipe on the Interwebs, we got down to some quail business for What’s Cooking Wednesday.

This was a great recipe, although we did change a lot to accommodate what we had in the house as well as our tastes. As you can see if you compare the two recipes, we cut the butter, used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, substituted rosemary for sage, and used little pre-prepared cubes of pancetta because that’s what we had. And we also added garlic. But that’s all we changed, I swear!

Overall, I have to say that if we get our hands on some quail again, I’ll definitely make it this way di nuovo, and I hope you’ll try it out too. These little birds were delicious.

Pan-fried Quail
(Quaglia in tegame)

  • 5 quail
  • 100 grams cubed pancetta
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

1. Clean and rinse quail thoroughly (P did this part; hopefully yours are already cleaned). Pat dry with a clean towel.

2. Stuff each quail with a sprig of rosemary and some of the pancetta.

3. Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic and let it cook for just a minute or so–don’t let it even brown, then remove it.

4. Add quail and brown on all sides.

5. Season quail with salt and freshly ground pepper.

6. Turn the quail once, and then add wine. Once the wine has bubbled for a minute or so, lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and let it simmer for another half hour to forty-five minutes.

7. Check on the pan so it doesn’t dry out; if it does, add some water. You don’t want dry birds.

8. Cook quail until the meat feels tender when poked with a fork.

9. Remove quail from the pan and then turn the heat back up to high. Add about 1/4 cup of water, and scrape up the good quail residual with a wooden spoon and let it mix with the water. Let the water come to a boil, and then pour these juices over the quail before serving.

Buon appetito!

16 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pan-Roasted Quail”
  1. What a nice gift.

    Figs, fresh quail, almonds, tomatoes, an amazing garden filled with fresh food…you live in a very special place.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Af Fab – Another Hollywood remake

    Indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 10.08.2008

    I’ glad you enjoyed it! What nice friends you have!

    saretta’s last blog post..Massimo D’Alema

    Agreed Saretta ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Gil

    What great friends you and P have. Anytime I went bird hunting with my friends all I returned home with was a hangover! My brother and my son each had friends in high school and college that owned bird dogs and they both brought home their share of pheasants. Neither managed to find any quail.

    They sound absolutely delicious!

    This friend works with bird dogs as well. I think Stella would be great at it, but P doesn’t hunt, so there’s really no reason to test the theory ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. 10.08.2008

    Hmmm, haven’t seen quails on offer at the local butchers! But every now and then I find quails eggs in the big supermarket at Pompei.

    I’ve never seen quail at the butcher either; in fact I had never seen one in person (I almost said “live,” but…) until P brought them home. I’ve never seen quail eggs around here either….

  5. joanne at frutto della passione

    I love quail! I do them for our Christmas dinner because a whole turkey for just three of us is crazy!

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Eurochocolate.com Website of the Month October 2008

    That’s a great idea for holiday dinners–and it sure is a tasty little bird ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 10.08.2008

    Must remember never to read your site on Wednesdays before lunchtime. It’s pure torture! And I mean that in a good way ๐Ÿ˜‰ The one thing Iโ€™d like to know is โ€“ does this quail know how to spell?

    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..My new love!

    Let’s just say we didn’t make potatoes–I didn’t really want to know the answer ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. 10.08.2008

    We actually have quail on offer up here in the north regularly and it’s a tasty little treat. I think your version with the pancetta sounds great. We usually spilt them, herb them up, bath in a bit of oil and pop them in the oven. Pan roasted with the pancetta will do wonders for making sure they dont dry out. Yumm!

    Marla’s last blog post..Castello di Razzano wine trip

    Absolutely! Must watch out for the dryness factor. They’re just little guys!

  8. 10.08.2008

    Ok, just one question, since I have never had quail. Does it taste like chicken??????

    My Mรฉlange’s last blog post..Tuscan White Bean Soup

    Actually I think it tastes a bit more like turkey, at least the darkest of the dark meat. Anyone else have an opinion on quail?

  9. 10.08.2008

    Wow just imagine the aroma from the tyme.
    It looks delicious.

    Happy Cook’s last blog post..Spicy Pop Corn Chicken

    The aroma in the house was definitely lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 10.08.2008

    You live the life my dear you live the life.
    Such a slice of heaven.

    Frances’s last blog post..currently watching

    I am very lucky indeed, Frances ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Anyone who cooks quail is a top chef in my book. Wow.

    Cherrye at My Bella Vita’s last blog post..Guest Post and Book Giveaway: My Cousin the Saint by Justin Catanoso

    It does sound fancy, I agree, but it was pretty simple. And maybe I say that because P did most of it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously though, the biggest thing to worry about is its possibly drying out, so as long as you watch that, easy peasy!

  12. 10.08.2008

    Great friends and great recipe! Justin’s book looks wonderful, too.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday: World Food Day Entry – Apple Maple Corn Muffins

    Thanks Jen!

  13. 10.08.2008

    They sell them in my Coop, so I thought everybody could get them at the supermarket. So maybe this balances crabmeat… nope.

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..No photos

    Not really, no.

  14. 10.09.2008

    We can get them round here too during hunting season, which (by the sound of things!!!) has just started. Your recipe looks great.

    casalba’s last blog post..Double Rainbow

    Hah, I *hope* hunting season has started….

  15. Bren@Flanboyant Eats

    girl please, i can’t even get my friends to gift me a cup of coffee, let alone fresh quail! good for you guys!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    this looks so good and rosemary is always such a nice aromatic herb to add to food. I love it. so when am I visiting?!? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Bren@Flanboyant Eats’s last blog post..Brenโ€™s Yuca Con Garlic Mojo

    Hah, as soon as you book the flight ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. 10.14.2008

    We had some quail at the Northern California Tomato Tasting held at Wild Boar Farms in August. The quail was marinated in tomato juices and balsamic vinegar, among other things. Then it was grilled. It was the most amazing quail I have ever eaten. Good stuff!

    Nate’s last blog post..Vegetarian Chap Chye (Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables)

    OK that sounds so lovely from the tomato tasting on down! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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