Quail in Escabeche

Or Codorniz en Escabeche, to give it its proper Spanish name.

I’m very fond of fish in escabeche and, on our journeys back through Spain to the ferry, we’ve seen bottled Quail in Escabeche, so I could hardly resist documenting this version of the latter. The use of dried fruits is very different to the fish recipe, though.

This would serve 4 as a tapa, BTW.

[Yet to be tried.]


serves: 2
preparation time: 15 mins
cooking time: 2½ hrs


  • 4 quail, spatchcocked
  • Salt & pepper
  • 400ml olive oil
  • 200ml white condiment (a.k.a. white balsamic)
  • 6 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 20g pine nuts
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 100g stoned dried prunes
  • 6 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • Selection of herbs, e.g.: sage, tarragon, mint, thyme, rosemary (handful each)


Put all the ingredients for the escabeche into a large pan. Warm very gently for 10 minutes, then set aside. Don’t let this boil as you will lose the aromatics. Pour the warm escabeche into a bowl to await the quail.

Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Grill the quail for about 3 to 4 minutes, skin side down, then turn and
grill the opposite side for 2 or 3 minutes more, just until done. [Note to self: I’m not entirely sure roasting wouldn’t be better approach, here.] Put the hot quail straight into the escabeche mixture and leave to infuse for 20 to 30 minutes in a warmish place, turning them halfway through.

Remove the quail from the escabeche and place on plates, spooning some of the escabeche mixture over each bird. Season well with salt and pepper and serve.

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