Quail Confit Salad

Salt Rub

  • ¼ cup kosher salt

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar

  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, whole

  • 2 bay leaves, broken into pieces

  • ¼ tsp coriander, whole

  • ¼ tsp cumin, whole

  • ¼ tsp fennel seed, whole

  • ¼ tsp chili flake

  1. In a mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together.

  2. Store at room temperature.

Quail Confit

  • 4 quails

  • 4 Tbsp salt rub

  • 1 quart rendered duck fat

  1. Rinse quail thoroughly for about 1 minute under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of salt rub on each quail and gently rub into meat. Store in plastic container; refrigerate for about 4-6 hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

  4. Rinse salt rub from quail with cold running water and pat dry on paper towels.

  5. In a 4 qt oven-proof stockpot over medium heat, warm the duck fat to about 200 degrees and gently place quails into fat. Bring back up to 200 degrees (the quail will lower the temperature) and place into oven uncovered.

  6. Cook for about 1 to 1 ½ hours until the legs pull away easily from the carcass.

  7. Carefully remove pot from oven and lift quail from fat using a slotted spoon. Dry on paper towels to remove excess grease.

  8. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove the legs from the carcass, keeping intact. Pull away the remaining meat and tear into large pieces.

  9. Store quail legs separately, lying flat from torn meat.

  10. While hot, carefully strain duck fat through a fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter into a large container. Once cool, place in refrigerator until hardened. Place in a plastic storage bag and freeze for future use.

Port -Soaked Cherries

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 2 fl oz water

  • 5 sprigs of thyme

  • 8 fl oz Port

  1. In a 1 qt stockpot over medium heat, bring sugar, water and thyme to a simmer and cook until water evaporates.

  2. Gently pour Port and cook out the alcohol (the port should flambé).

  3. After the flames disperse, remove from heat, add cherries and cool to room temperature.

  4. Store in plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Spiced Pecans

  • 1 cup pecans, whole

  • 1 fl oz vegetable oil

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • ¼ tsp cumin, ground

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, ground

  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix all spices thoroughly. Toss pecans in oil, sprinkle spice mix over pecans and toss all until well-coated.

  3. Place pecans on a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Toast in oven for approximately 15 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven. When cooled, store at room temperature.

Truffle-Mustard Dressing

  • ½ cup Dijon mustard, whole grain

  • 1 Tbsp white truffle oil

  • 4 fl oz sherry vinegar

  • 8 fl oz vegetable oil

  • 2 Tbsp Tupelo honey

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender (except vegetable oil) and mix until incorporated (about 10 seconds).

  2. With blender running on high speed, slowly pour in oil to emulsify.

  3. Store in plastic container and refrigerate.


  • Quail Breast Meat

  • 8 Quail Legs

  • 24 Port-Soaked Cherries, drained

  • 40 Spiced Pecans

  • 4 fl oz Rendered Duck Fat

  • Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 Bunch Escarole leaves

In a shallow sauté pan, warm Rendered Duck Fat over medium heat until very hot but not smoking. Gently place Quail Legs, skin side down into the duck fat until the skin is crispy and dark brown. Remove from fat and dry over paper towels. In a large mixing bowl, tear Escarole leaves in large chunks and add Quail Breast Meat and 2 fl oz Truffle-Mustard Vinaigrette dressing. Toss until incorporated. Spoon 1 Tbsp of Truffle-Mustard Vinaigrette onto each serving plate. Divide salad mixture evenly among 8 serving plates. Top with five pecans and three cherries each. Lean quail leg (skin side forward) against the salad greens.

Chefs Note: Quail is simply one type of poultry, feel free to adjust the recipe and substitute turkey, chicken or ducks legs.

John Minas