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Quail with Green Beans, Dijon, and Almonds

I love the combination of green beans and nuts, and I love mustard, and I love crispy birds – that was more or less the thought process that went into this dish.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

  • 4 quail (115g each), patted dry
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • LEaves from a few springs of rosemary
  • 60ml fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 340g green beans, trimmed
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chardonnay vinegar
  • 50g Marcona almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky salt
  • 240 ml chicken jus

METHOD

  1. With scissors or a sharp knife, cut down one side of each quail’s spine to butterfly it, then open it out and press on it to flatted the bird. Check the insides to make sure everything has been cleared out – you’ll likely want to pull out some of the blood vessels you see.
  2. Place the quail, skin side up, on a baking sheet or large platter and let them dry out, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. (This will help ensure crispy skin.)
  3. The next day, rub each quail all over with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, then season on both sides with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Let sit, skin side up, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet for 20 minutes or so to come to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water (it should be saltier than the sea, and the taste should almost shock you when you taste it) to a boil.
  5. Prepare an ice bath.
  6. Mince the garlic and finely chop the rosemary. Combine with the fish sauce in a small bowl.
  7. Mix together the mustards in a small bowl, then stream in a generous tablespoon of olive oil.
  8. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes; they should be a vibrant green and still retain a bit of crunch.
  9. Drain them and transfer them to the ice bath.
  10. Once they have cooled, drain them and pat dry.
  11. Season with a few pinches of kosher salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  12. Toss with the mustard-oil mixture. Set aside.
  13. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a medium skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the almonds, and once they start gently bubbling, cook, stirring regularly, for 2 minutes longer, or until they are a very light golden color. (They will continue to cook after you remove them from the pan.)
  14. Transfer them to a paper towel-lines plate to drain, then sprinkle with the flaky salt and roughly chop.
  15. Preheat the broiler to high, with the rack as close to the flame as you can get it.
  16. Lacquer each bird with some of the fish sauce mixture, then place the quail under the broiler for about 5 minutes, lacquering once or twice more as they cook.
  17. For even cooking, you may have to move the ban or rotate it once or twice, depending on your broiler. Once the skin is golden and crispy, flip the quail and cook on the other side for a minute or so, until cooked through.
  18. When done, the juices should run clear and a cake tester inserted into the flesh near the neck/shoulder should come out warm, but not hot. Chubbier birds may need an extra minute or so under the broiler.
  19. While the quail cooks, heat the chicken jus in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  
  20. To serve, toss the green beans with the almonds. Arrange a quail in each of four shallow bowls and place a pile of beans next to each bird.
  21. Pour 60ml of the chicken jus around each serving.

    Practical Note: You will need to dry the quail at least one day ahead.
Ignacio Mattos About Author

Born in Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, chef Ignacio Mattos discovered his proclivity towards cooking and baking at a very young age.