When I was home recently I spent quite a few hours paging through cookbooks in my sister’s house. She always has some new ones…and the hardest part for me is to figure out which ones I want to buy and bring home with me. This time she seemed to be on a North African/Turkish/Mediterranean kick, which more or less fit with what I am cooking a lot of at home these days as well, so there was inspiration aplenty.
So home with me came two cookbooks: Moro (name of the restaurant run by the two authors) and Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.And I naturally haven’t had enough time to cook my way through them, but I am picking out a recipe or two when I can. Today…beautiful sunny day…perfect day to ride the bike down to the Viktualienmarket (farmer’s market) and pick up some nice things. Which is what I did…with a list of ingredients at the ready.
I wanted to make an herb salad – tossed water cress, dill, taragon, basil, cilantro, parsley, etc – with a light oil and lemon juice dressing. And a pistachio sauce that my sister made when I was there would be really nice, perfumed with orange blossom water and a grind of garlic and salt. I had also seen a recipe that looked delicious and easy: marinated quail breasts stuffed in a fresh bread pocket and baked for 10 minutes. A dab of yogurt, a spoonful of Italian tomatoes…really, what more could you want?
But I was suffering a bit because the recipe called for the breasts of quails and only the breasts. You might bake up the rest (legs) and munch them like little barbequed chicken legs at some other point, but I didn’t really see that happening. And I really didn’t want to just throw away half the bird so I could eat their breasts. Look – I mean…..these are the cutest birds….they just hop and sputter around the neighborhoods in northern california….it’s bad enough…just the thought of eating them.
Maybe the only thing cuter is a photo of my kitties having a nap on the couch this morning.
Anyway, so I was thinking of alternatives (duck breast? chicken legs?) and wandering around one of the downtown grocery stores after buying my veggies at the farmer’s market. When I suddenly came across a package of quail breasts. Was really the strangest thing. And of course I grabbed them and walked out the door triumphant. I wouldn’t have to waste half the bird and I could try out my recipe.
Which is what I have now just finished eating. They were yum yum yummy.
And super easy to make. You sprinke the breasts with cardamom and black cumin, salt and pepper and let them rest in the fridge for a bit. Meanwhile, mix up the dough (I used my breadmaker, so no effort there.). 45 min later, saute the breasts on both sides,
Roll out the dough and put the two breast halves and some herbs on one side. Fold and seal them all up.
Put them in the oven to bake for 10 minutes…
Eat and enjoy.
I’m happy to share the recipe with anyone who wants it, just tell me.
By the way, while the quail breast was very good, I do in fact think you could easily swap it out for a chicken thigh. Duck breast might not be as good.