With the festive season fast approaching, families will be thinking of what to cook for Christmas dinner (arguably the best part of the day) come the 25th. Chicken? Turkey? Or how about Spatchcooked Quail? Add a unique spin to the traditional meal with this delicious recipe by Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy.
SPATCHCOCKED QUAIL WITH A ROASTED NUT SAUCE
Credit – Spanish Made Simple: 100 Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy (Quadrille, £14.99) Photography ©Martin Poole
1 LEMON, QUARTERED, TO SERVE
FOR THE ROMESCO SAUCE
3 PIMIENTOS CHORICEROS (SPANISH DRIED PEPPERS), CHOPPED, OPTIONAL
1 RED (BELL) PEPPER 3 TOMATOES
1⁄2 HEAD OF GARLIC, PEELED AND CLOVES SEPARATED
100ML OLIVE OIL
50G BLANCHED ALMONDS (OR SKIN ON)
30G BLANCHED HAZELNUTS (OR PINE NUTS OR MORE ALMONDS)
1 SLICE BREAD
3 TBSP SHERRY VINEGAR
A PINCH OF SWEET PIMENTÓN (SWEET SMOKED PAPRIKA)
A PINCH OF ROCK OR SEA SALT
FOR THE MARINADE
10 SPRIGS FRESH THYME, LEAVES FINELY CHOPPED
4 GARLIC CLOVES, FINELY CHOPPED
1 TBSP SALT
2 TSP SWEET OR SPICY PIMENTÓN (SWEET OR HOT SMOKED PAPRIKA)
2 TSP DRIED OREGANO
2 TSP GROUND CUMIN
75ML (5 TBSP) OLIVE OIL
Soak the pimientos choriceros for the romesco sauce in water for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Tip the vegetables for the romesco sauce onto a roasting tray and rub with the olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, adding the nuts and the slice of bread for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Set aside to cool slightly and then peel the vegetables and blend with the bread, nuts, sherry vinegar, pimentón, salt and pimientos choriceros, if using (by pestle, hand blender or food processor) until you have a smooth paste.
Lay a quail on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut the rib cage wide open. Discard the chest bone, flip over the quail and flatten it against the board. Insert 2 skewers diagonally in a cross formation from the wing to the leg, passing through the breast so that you have a completely flat bird. Repeat with the rest of the quail.
Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and brush all over the quail.
Preheat the grill (broiler) or barbecue to hot or place a griddle pan over a high heat and cook the quail to your liking, no longer than 5 minutes on each side and ideally so that it is still pinkish and juicy in the middle.
Serve each of the quail with a lemon wedge and a spoonful of romesco sauce.
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