Ajo Blanco Quail Breasts

Ajo Blanco-Inspired Quail Breasts

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Fried Quail Breasts with Saffron Ajo Sauce & Grape Gremolata

Makes 6 light appetizer Servings

A riff on the flavors of the famous Ajo Blanco chilled soup in Spain. We’ve added saffron to bring a warm golden color to the sauce – so it’s not so blanco anymore.  It has the bold flavor of saffron with the nuttiness of almonds, bite of sherry vinegar, and savory garlic.  A playful chopped grape & parsley gremolata adds brightness & additional color.

INGREDIENTS
  • 20 Boneless Quail Breasts
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • Neutral-Flavored High Heat Oil for Frying (grapeseed, canola, etc)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Green Grape Gremolata:
  • ¼ cup minced Shallot
  • ¼ cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup Green Grapes
  • 1 tbsp minced Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch salt, to taste
  • 20 flat or 40 round Small Bamboo Skewers

DIRECTIONS

  • Make the Saffron Ajo Sauce:
1

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2

Chop the top off the garlic head, coat it in 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake it for 30-35 minutes, until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Unwrap and let cool.
3

Bloom 1 pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp warm water.
4

Soak the bread briefly in warm water until softened.
5

Boil 2 cups of water. Place the almonds in a heatproof bowl, and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 3-4 minutes, then drain and squeeze them out of their skins.
6

Put the blanched and peeled almonds (drained) into a food processor or blender. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their head and add them. Add the saffron and the water it was bloomed in, plus the additional ½ cup of water.
7

Lift the bread from the water and squeeze it slightly to drain, then add it, too (without the additional soaking water). Puree the mixture until it’s smooth.
8

While running, stream in the sherry vinegar and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Salt to taste.

  • Make the Green Grape Gremolata:
1

Place the shallot in a small bowl and cover it with seasoned rice wine vinegar. Let the shallot soak for 6-8 minutes, then drain the pieces out of the vinegar with a small strainer.
2

Quarter the green grapes. Combine them with the shallots, parsley, and olive oil. Gently mix to combine, then salt to taste.

  • Finish the Dish:
1

In a small saucepan, heat your frying oil to 350°F.
2

Toss each quail breast in cornstarch, shake off any excess, and thread it onto 1 (flat) or 2 (round) skewers.
3

When all your skewers are made, fry them in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes each. Drain the breasts on paper towels and lightly salt them immediately.
4

Spread a schmear of Saffron Ajo Sauce on each plate. Top with 1-2 quail breast skewers. Scatter with green grape gremolata and serve immediately.

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