BBQ Quail in a Fig Bath

8 quail
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons

Fig Bath
8 tiny white or 4 larger dried figs : dried white figs – Look for imported tiny dried white figs in Middle Eastern food stores.
2 lemons
125 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Using kitchen shears, cut away the backbone from each quail and slip out the rib cage with your fingers. Rub each bird with a little olive oil, then season with pepper and allow to sit for 1 hour before grilling.
Meanwhile, preheat a barbecue or prepare your fire, allowing it to burn down to glowing embers. Start to prepare the fig bath by reconstituting the figs in enough verjuice to cover them for 20 minutes, then drain and cut them in half (or quarters, if using larger figs). Remove the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then juice 1 lemon. Set aside.
Grill the quail, turning them frequently, for about 8 minutes in all, depending on the heat of the fire. While the quail are cooking, finish preparing the fig bath by pouring the olive oil into a shallow glass dish, then adding the figs, lemon zest and juice. Chop the basil finely and add it to the bath with a good grinding of pepper. Transfer the cooked quail to the bath and rest, turning once or twice, for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4
Recipe: Maggie Beer


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