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Grilled Quail Salad With Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

For vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of corn or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Main Ingredients:
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 head Boston lettuce
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms (about 6 medium)
  • 4 semiboneless jumbo quail (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • corn or canola oil for rubbing on quail
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Make vinaigrette:
Mince garlic and in a small bowl stir together with mustard, vinegar, and cream. Add oils in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified, and season with pepper and salt.

Roast and peel bell pepper. Cut pepper into 1/4-inch dice. Separate lettuce leaves from head, leaving them whole, and discard coarse stems from watercress. Cut mushrooms into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Prepare grill

Halve each quail lengthwise through breast and pat dry. Rub quail lightly all over with oil and season with pepper and salt. Grill quail on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until skin is well browned but meat is still pink. (Alternatively, grill quail in a hot well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat).

In a large bowl toss watercress and mushrooms with just enough vinaigrette to coat lightly. Arrange lettuce on each of 4 large plates and top with watercress mixture and bell pepper. Arrange quail on top of salad and sprinkle with tarragon. Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Serves 4 as a first course or light main course.

From Gourmet, September, 1998

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