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    Grilled Quail Marinated in Lemon and Grape Juice

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    Grilled Quail Marinated in Lemon and Grape Juice

    Ideally, the quail should be marinated for 12 hours, but you can cook them after 2 hours. You also need to allow some time to bone the quail. If you find the boning process too fiddly, you can simply spatchcock the birds. Muscat grapes are particularly good in this recipe.

    • Preparation time: 1 hour, plus marinating
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1.5 hours, plus marinating 60 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 350g grapes, washed
    • 3-4 tbsp water
    • 2 shallots, finely chopped
    • 5 sprigs parsley, roughly crushed
    • 7 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 quail
    • 200g crisp, mixed salad leaves
    • 5 salad onions, finely sliced

    Method

    1. Strip the grapes from their stems and put them in a saucepan with the water. Cover and set over a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Vigorously mash them up and increase the heat a little. Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes until their skins are swimming in juice. Strain through a sieve and discard the skins and pips.
    2. Put 2 tbsp of the grape juice in a small mixing bowl and set aside for the salad dressing. Mix the remaining grape juice in a bowl with the shallots, parsley and 3 tbsp olive oil to make the marinade. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper.
    3. Meanwhile, bone the quail in the following manner: using a pair of kitchen scissors, snip off the wings and leg tips. Turn the quail upside down so that it is resting on its breast bone and use a sharp knife to cut through the skin and flesh along the length of the body before starting to cut down and around the bird's carcass, separating the flesh from the bones. You will need to dislocate the wing and then the leg by wiggling each joint, so that you can cut through the joint and continue down and around the bird's skeleton. Keep the knife close to the bird's skeleton, cutting the flesh free as you do so. Once you reach the breast bone, take care not to cut through the skin. Then return to the bottom and repeat the exercise on the other side so that the flesh of the quail drops off its bones with the legs attached. Repeat with all the birds.
    4. If you want to spatchcock the birds instead, place breast-side down on a chopping board. Cut through the centre of the underside of the bird with a sharp knife. Turn the quail over and, with the heel of your hand, press along the breast bone to flatten the bird. Push 2 small skewers, one from each side, diagonally through the leg, breast and wing to hold the bird flat. Place each quail in the grape and lemon juice marinade. Make sure all are well coated, then cover and chill for 2-12 hours.
    5. Preheat a barbecue or a griddle pan. Prepare the salad by putting the salad leaves and sliced salad onions in a bowl. Whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp grape juice with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp olive oil and some seasoning to make the salad dressing
    6. Pick off any marinade ingredients from the quail, season with salt and place skin-side down on the grill making sure that the legs are pressed against the grill. Cook for 10 minutes, turning over once, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced with a knife. Remove and leave to rest while you dress the salad with the grape and lemon juice dressing. Divide the salad between 4 plates, then arrange 2 quail on each plate. Serve immediately.

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