2 squab or jumbo quail (size 3 only)
2 tablespoons dried morello cherries reconstituted in 6 tablespoons vino cotto
6 cloves of garlic, pre-roasted to golden
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon thyme
Good drizzle of evoo
1 tablespoon knob butter
oil for frying
Place the squab breast side up cutting board with the legs closest to you. Turn the bird over so that it’s breast side down and using a pair of poultry shears (or a pair of scissors) cut along either side of the back bone and remove. Remove the wing tips. Turn the squab over and press down on its breast bone to flatten. Using your fingers, gently work the skin away from the breast.
Make a mixture of the drained reconstituted morello cherries, garlic, half the rosemary, all the thyme and lemon in a food processor or mortar and pestle.
Divide the mixture in two and gently press a portion of each under the skin working along the whole bird to cover. Place the squab in a shallow dish and drizzle with the drained vino cotto; the other half of rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. Cover and leave to marinade for at least an hour or two.
Preheat oven to 230C.
Heat a good knob of butter with a little evoo in a frying pan, remove the squab from the marinade, dry and season with sea salt and gently seal on all sides to golden brown. Clean out the pan, add another knob of butter and oil and seal the second half. Brush on residual marinade and place breast down into a hot oven for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook for another two minutes. This cooking time is because it’s a particularly small bird.
Take out of the oven and turn upside down, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a little broccoli and either the juice from the roasting pan or a quick sauce of reduced stock, the balance of the vino cotto, another tablespoon of cherries and a knob of butter, boiled together.