Monday, August 23, 2010

Go Ahead, Eat the Skin...I dare you!

Before I write about my adventures in quail....so, I'm in Budapest having dinner with 3 other people that have never had a "problem" with their bodyweight, (hint, hint....Mark, Pavel and Andrea). None of them were torured by having to make a decision to order the meal with the least amount of fat, the least amount of carbs, or the least amount of sugar. In fact as I looked around at everyone else's meal it was full of fat, carbs and sugar (well, that was at the end when Andrea and I ordered 4 desserts....to share, to share! I think I was a bad influence on her, lol)

My point is life is too short to pull the chicken skin off...it's yummy.

OK, so the second night, in Huingary, Mark and I ate at the Hotel resturant, and I was looking over the salads because I happen to love salads, not because I was counting calories. It's no secrect that I love fresh veggies, and I had heard horror stories about how hard it was to find fresh veggies in Eastern Europe....???? Whoever told me that must've not vacationed in the Summer (or Spring), how could there not be fresh foods in the Summer? Anyway, I ordered a endive, asparagus and beet salad with grilled quail and tiny poached quail eggs topping the individual endive leaves. Those quail eggs were cr-eamy! I knew I had to make a version of this when I got home.

Years ago I had taken a "gourmet" cooking class where they demonstrated boning a quail (yep, boning a freakin', tiny ass, quail!), so the thought of buying and preparing quail wasn't intimidateing to me. I remembered seeing quail eggs and frozen quail at the Vietnemese Market....voila!

$.99 cents for 1 dozen quail eggs...yep $.99 cents! $7.99 for 6 quail. Now this seemed kind of inexpensive (I don't like to use the word cheap, lol), so after that batch was gone I bought some more quail at Whole Foods....$14.99 for 4! That's almost 3 times as much. I admit the Whole Foods quail looked better.....but until I have a side by side taste test....hey I still buy my Thanksgiving Turkey at Safeway....I'm over the whole "organic" thing..... OK, I'm not going to lie...I'm not! But I'm getting over it more and faster.

I enjoyed a few salads with poached quail eggs. It was challenging getting those little suckers just right. TIP: your poaching water has to be boiling or near boiling. Anything less will not cook the whites fast enough and you'll end up with "spider web" whites. I decided I wasn't %100 sure of the freshness of the eggs from this particular market, but I'm going to go to a busier Asian market in hopes of feeling like the turn over is a bit more consistent.

The quail I left in the fridge to defrost and once they were no longer frozen I rinsed them off, cut out the backbone (and neck), flattened those puppies (OK, I mean birdies) by simply opening them up, breast side up and pushing down on the breast bone to flatten. I made sure they had been out of the fridge for about 20 minutes, so they weren't stone cold, and also, I dried them completely with paper towels (oh, the waste...I'll have to write a blogpost sometime about how it used to be hard for me to "waste" paper towels. So much so that I used to rinse them out and dry them to use again, lol).

Back to the quail....

I sprinkled salt, pepper, and in honor of my Hungarian friends, paprika, put them skin side down in a smokin' hot saute pan. I would have grilled them if I had a grill! I let the skin get really crisp, and then I placed another heavy pot right on top of them to get a really good sear and to help flatten them out a bit more while making sure to cook them throughout, 5 minutes. Flipped them over and cooked for another 3-5 minutes.




There's something about having your own iny little bird, skin and everything, all to yourself! Mine never did make it to top a salad!

2 comments:

Britt Buckingham said...

Speaking of "chicken skin"...My Tracey told me she recently saw a review of a new “trial” sandwich for KFC.
“Deep Fried Chicken Skin” sandwich. No chicken, just the skin. Being from the South we may all have a weakness for fried chicken, but...KFC..come on! As if it weren't bad enough for you already!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Britt,

you're kidding? Now, that's just not nice!

Yesterday I made my first "effort" with the 16kg, nonstop.....lots of revelations coming in a blogpost soon. But to put you out of suspense, mine was indeed and "effort"....a good one though, really good.