Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chef in Venice #2 - Roasted quail with pumpkin puree

The Venice Film Festival, The Carnivale, The Biennale - there's something for every time of the year in Venice. We've been going to the Biennale each time since we first discovered it in 2003.
Strictly speaking it's not a biennale any longer - as the year in between, such as this year, the festival focuses on architecture, exploring the symbiosis between art and architecture, the challenges architects face in the world economy - and the direction in which that guides them (the need for housing to accomodate the growing world population for example), and, of course, their ideas and visions for the future.

The exhibitions ouside the 2 main areas (the Giardini and Arsenale) held in odd palazzos, churches and pavillions are, in our opinion, even better - half of the fun to be had in actually finding where they are in the first place. And after a day trekking around town there's nothing you want to do more than get down to some serious cooking......

Quail was on the menu.
Because they are so small a whole one will do as a starter, but it is quite easy to eat two whole ones for a main course, particularly after so much walking and fresh air.
After drizzling with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper I roasted them for around ½ an hour. Quail, like all other meats is best cooked on the bone to conserve both flavour and moistness.
After a couple of minutes resting out the oven I could put the chopped squash in salted water to cook, then take the quail breasts and legs off the bone.
These went back on the tray to rest and the quail carcasses went in a pan with water and on the boil to make a quail stock while we opened the prosecco.
Once the stock had reduced to a ladlefull, I passed it through a sieve, added a glassful of prosecco instead of the usual white wine) and let that reduce a bit, added a bit of butter and balsamic, then dropped in some cooked oyster mushrooms from the day before - it was holiday after all…..

Then time to finish it off. Place the tray of quail in the oven to heat up. Drain the squash, mash it, season it up, then add a dash of olive oil and bit of rosemary from the altana.

For more Venice dishes see here - http://www.thecotswoldfoodyear.com/search/label/venice

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