Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some homework

The magazine spotlight that Suzie from Munch+Nibble and I are shining in our We Made It challenge has moved this month from Gourmet Traveller to delicious magazine. But I am making a belated last effort to make a few more dishes from GT before I move onto delicious.

One of the first dishes that Suzie made from GT was the fried quail with cucumber and lettuce wedges in the "Gourmet Fast" section. Her description of the meal inspired me to try it myself. But I wasn't very organised and didn't have any quail on hand so decided to try the marinade with chicken to see how that would turn out.

I'm pleased to report that it was a success. The salty soy-based sauce was sweetened with caster sugar and spiced with star anise and ginger, with a citrus scent provided by orange rind. The salty/sweet mix was very pleasing on the palate and the lettuce and cucumber were the perfect off-set dishes. I think this dish would be better with crispy quail but the substitute chicken breasts also worked well, although they didn't crisp up as much as quail would.

I've given the original recipe below; I just substituted two chicken breasts for the four quail and halved the marinade ingredients.

This is probably the final dish I'll make from the December 2009 issue of Gourmet Traveller (although I do still have a few of the salads bookmarked...) I enjoyed the challenge of actually forcing myself to make dishes that I liked the look of, rather than just bookmarking them and then putting away the magazine. I don't think I cooked enough dishes this month to choose a favourite, although the dark berry trifle was an absolute winner and was worth the magazine price alone.

If you'd like to join in with our We Made It challenge, just drop Suzie or myself a line.

Fried quail with cucumber and lettuce wedges
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller, December 2009

4 jumbo quail, butterflied and halved lengthways
200ml light soy sauce
100ml chicken stock
40gm caster sugar
2 pieces orange rind, removed with a peeler
10gm (2cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced
1 star anise, coarsely crushed
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 tsp each Chinese five-spice and dried chilli flakes
1/4 iceberg lettuce, cut into thin wedges
1/2 telegraph cucumber, cut into 4cm batons
Lime wedges and coriander sprigs, to serve

Place quail in a single layer in a non-reactive dish and set aside. Combine soy sauce, stock, sugar, orange peel, ginger and star anise in a small saucepan, stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cool, pour half over quail and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Return remaining mixture to heat and cook until syrupy (5-7 minutes), strain through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided frying pan to 180 degrees. Combine five-spice, chilli and 2 Tb sea salt flakes in a small bowl and set aside. Drain quail (discard marinade) and pat dry with absorbent paper. Deep-fry in batches until golden and crisp (3-4 minutes). Toss through reduced marinade, season with five-spice salt and serve with lettuce, cucumber, lime and coriander.


Suzie said...

Glad you enjoyed it. The quail had me slightly freaked out, so maybe next time, I'll try with chicken breasts.

Melinda said...

I was very impressed that you tackled the quail. I think the chicken breasts were a good substitute though.