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Recipe: Chicken-Fried Quail, Eggos & Foie Maple Syrup

Recipe by Gabriel Rucker Photographs by Lisa Warninger

Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker shares a recipe for Chicken-Fried Quail, Eggos, Foie Maple Syrup from his new cookbook.

Hard-core vegans may want to avert their eyes from Gabriel Rucker’s new cookbook, Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird (Ten Speed Press). It’s hilariously divided into sections such as Tongue, Fat Liver, Horns and Antlers, Rabbit, etc. The message is: If you eat animals, you may as well recognize the animal you’re about to eat! Still, vegetarians eat very well at his Portland, Oregon, lowbrow-highbrow comfort food establishment. The gorgeous cookbook (co-written with Meredith Erickson) from the fast-moving James Beard Award–winning chef and co-owner of Le Pigeon and Little Bird features 125 recipes for true nose-to-tail meat enthusiasts, including Rabbit and Eel Terrine and Elk Tongue Stroganoff.

When we asked him for a recipe with some meaning and significance to his childhood, he suggested Chicken-Fried Quail, Eggos, Foie Maple Syrup. Gabriel was a latch-key kid; he grew up with both parents working so he often ate Eggos at breakfast and after school. At Le Pigeon, he put this item on the menu. Adding the optional Foie Maple Syrup to this recipe makes the waffles seem (wrongly, perhaps) more grown-up. This recipe truly reflects the flavor profile and general theme of Le Pigeon.

Recipe: Chicken-Fried Quail & Eggos 

1/4 cup (60 grams) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon espelette pepper
1/4 teaspoon Maldon flake salt, plus more for sprinkling
4 semiboneless quail
Kosher salt
1 cup (250 milliliters) buttermilk
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (60 grams) fresh bread crumbs, from 4 slices of bread
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Neutral oil for frying
4 Eggo waffles
Foie Maple Syrup (optional, recipe below)

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the butter, the pepper and the Maldon salt and set aside. Season the quail with kosher salt. Put the quail in a small bowl with the buttermilk (it should just cover the quail) and set aside to soak.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, paprika, mustard powder, nutmeg and one tablespoon kosher salt. Transfer the flour mixture to a lunch-size paper bag. Drain the quail well and, one at a time, add them to the paper bag. Shake well to thoroughly coat the quail with the flower mixture, then transfer the quail to a plate.

Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch (12 millimeters) in a cast-iron pan large enough to hold the quail in a single layer. Heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the quail along with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Turn down the heat to medium and fry until the quail is browned and cooked through to medium, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set the quail aside to rest on a plate lined with paper towels.

Toast the waffles. Spread the butter and espelette pepper mixture over the waffles.
Arrange one waffle and one quail on each of four dishes. Drizzle the Foie Maple Syrup on top. Sprinkle with Maldon salt and serve.

Serves 4

Recipe: Foie Maple Syrup

6 ounces (180 grams) foie gras cubes (see recipe in Le Pigeon cookbook)
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) maple syrup

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the foie gras with the maple syrup until the mixture is thick and sticky, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully strain the liquid, discarding the foie bits and reserving the syrup. The syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Makes 3/4 cup (180 milliliters)

These recipes are excerpted from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird (out now on Ten Speed Press). 

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