Tag Archives: how to cook quail

Tanya Holland’s Mustard Barbecue-Roasted Quail

A sharp, sweet, tangy Southern-style barbecue sauce and boozy cherries make this quail dish a standout.
A sharp, sweet, tangy Southern-style barbecue sauce and boozy cherries make this quail dish a standout.

Chef Tanya Holland may have left behind the hustle and bustle of the restaurant industry in 2021 with the closure of her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, whose superlative fried chicken and waffles prompted a never-ending line of diners eager to enjoy comforting soul food at its best.

Thankfully, though, her cooking and community championing continue on in her new cookbook, “California Soul” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

It was written with Maria C. Hunt, a California-based journalist who specializes in cultural stories about food, wine, and lifestyle; and Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz, who holds a PhD in African diaspora studies and anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley.

It’s a cookbook not just of recipes, but of stories, that reflect the struggles and triumphs of African Americans who migrated from the South to California. Holland knows first-hand that journey, being the daughter of a mother who grew up in Louisiana, and a father who hails from Virginia. As a child, Holland spent many summers in both states, immersed in the gardening and cooking traditions of her grandparents.

Her great-aunts would make their way to Oregon and Southern California. Holland, herself, would move to the Bay Area in 2001, drawn to the fact, she writes, that “California offered an openness to ambition (female and Black) thought leaders and entrepreneurs that I hadn’t experienced on the East Coast.”

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Pomegranate-Glazed Roasted Quail

Quail is definitely worth seeking out.
Quail is definitely worth seeking out.

Quail is one of the unsung heroes of fast cooking.

These little birds, with flavorful dark meat, cook up in no time flat.

In fact, it may take longer to hunt them down at a store — than to actually prepare them at home.

When Sprouts first opened, I rejoiced that its freezer section was regularly stocked with frozen quail. However, that ended more than a year ago. Then, I was relieved to find them in the freezer case of Whole Foods. Again, that was short-lived. Now, I grab them when I can find them lurking in the corner of the freezers at Zanotto’s in San Jose. Fingers crossed that they keep being a staple there.

I wish more people would give them a try. They are slightly duck-like in taste, and cook in about 10 minutes on the backyard grill or about 15 minutes in the oven.

“Pomegranate-Glazed Roasted Quail” is a no-brainer to make at home. It’s easy-peasy, and delicious with tangy-sweet-fruity pomegranate molasses scented with cinnamon and thyme glazed all over.

The recipe is from “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day” by America’s Test Kitchen.

The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is a wealth of judiciously tested recipes with Mediterranean influences. Savor everything from “Mussels Escabeche,” “Spiced Fava Bean Soup” and “Bulgur Salad with Grapes and Feta” to “Pan-Roasted Halibut with Chermoula,” “Spanish Grilled Octopus Salad with Orange and Bell Pepper,” and “Fig Phyllo Cookies.”

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