This is Marcella Hazan’s recipe. She prepared it for lunch on the terrace outside the lovely, antique-filled top-floor apartment she and her husband, Victor, share in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The Hazan’s served the quail with polenta.
- 4 quails
- 4 thin slices of pancetta
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- Wash the quail thoroughly inside and out under cold running water, then set aside to drain in a colander for 20 minutes.
- Pat the quail dry and stuff each with a slice of pancetta and a sage leaf.
- Place the butter and oil in a heavy sauté pan and place over high heat.
- Brown the quail on all sides, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the wine. Turning the birds in it once.
- Cook for about 1 minute, then lower the heat to medium and cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly askew. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the quail feel tender when probed with a fork and the meat comes away easily from the bone.
- Check to see if there is sufficient liquid in the pan to keep the quail from sticking.
- Add a little water if there is not. Remove the quail from the pan and place on a serving dish.
- Add 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of water to the pan, increase the heat to high, and cook, loosening the particles clinging to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- If necessary, season the pan juices with salt and pepper, then pour over the quail and serve.