4 quails, butterflied
2 lemons, halved
For the brine:
500 ml (2 cups) water
500 ml (2 cups) beer (preferably a good ale)
3 tbsp salt
sprigs of thyme
1 chilli, split lengthways
1 lemon, sliced
For the bread sauce:
6 bay leaves on the stem
600 ml (2½ cups) full-fat milk
1 onion, sliced
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
6 slices day-old white bread, cut into small cubes
1. In the restaurant this dish is cooked over the barbecue, as it results in the intense smoky flavour we are looking to achieve. When serving, we make a reduction of chicken stock and brown butter and drizzle it over the quails.
2. For the brine, put the ingredients in a large bowl and add the quails. Leave overnight in the fridge.
3. For the bread sauce, start by burning the bay leaf stem over a barbecue or gas hob, until the leaves go black. Place in a pan with the milk, cloves, peppercorns, onion, nutmeg and salt. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Leave to infuse for about 1 hour. (In the restaurant we do this a day ahead, as the flavour of the infusion becomes more intense.)
4. Sieve the milk infusion into another pan, add the bread and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens to a sauce consistency.
5. Grill the quails on the barbecue until cooked through (this will take about 10 minutes on each side, depending on the heat of the barbecue). (Alternatively, cook in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for 15–20 minutes, until cooked through.) Chop the quails in half.
Recipes by The Marksman restaurant, London
London: The Cookbook by Cara Frost-Sharratt, Francis Lincoln, £20