Oak-Grilled Quail with Citrus and Fennel | Wine Enthusiast
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Oak-Grilled Quail with Citrus and Fennel

Courtesy Chris Carlson, chef/partner, Maverick, San Antonio, TX

Quail is great for summer grilling: It cooks fast, has great flavor, and begs to be eaten with your hands. If you have to, you can use a cast-iron grill pan.


1 green apple
1 small bulb fennel
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 blood orange
1 grapefruit
Juice of 1 Meyer or regular lemon
4 semi-boneless quail
1 head frisée


Peel apple, trim fennel, and slice both very thin. Coat sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add apple, fennel and pinch of salt. Cook until fennel is soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer to blender and purée, adding olive oil as needed. Salt to taste and set aside.

Working over bowl to catch juices, cut away orange and grapefruit peel, then cut segments from between membranes and set aside. Add lemon juice to bowl. Measure juice and add an equal amount of olive oil, with salt, to taste. Add honey, if too tart.

Salt quail well and grill over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until deep brown on the outside and just past pink inside (quail should be served medium-rare, 160˚F). Let rest 5 minutes. Cut in half before serving.

Tear frisée and toss with enough dressing to coat. Spread fennel purée on plates, and top with frisée, citrus segments and quail. Serves 2–4.

Pair It

Caveau de Bacchus 2014 Rosíère Cuvée des Gèologues Trousseau (Arbois). “This savory expression of Trousseau is a gem,” says Joshua Thomas, wine director, manager and partner at Maverick. “At first it has a bit of gamy wild raspberry, blood orange and cranberry, crunchy fennel and herbs de Provence, and evolves from tart red fruit to a sweeter strawberry note as it sits in the glass. This is a great complement to the grilled flavors of the quail, but with bright acidity to mirror the citrus.”

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