Spatchcock refers to the method of removing the backbone of the quail with poultry shears, breaking the breastbone, and flattening the bird with the palm of your hand.
8 quails, 4 to 6 ounces each
2 shallots, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Good pinch of cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
- Using a pair of heavy kitchen shears, snip the wingtips from the quail and cut out the backbone of each bird, opening and pressing down on the bird so the skin side rests flat.
- In a small nonreactive bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Spoon a quarter of the marinade into the bottom of a shallow nonreactive pan or container large enough to hold all of the flattened birds in a single layer.
- Place the quails in the dish, skin side up. Pour the rest of the marinade over the birds, pressing them down with your fingertips to make sure all surfaces are covered. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove the quails from the marinade and grill for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side for medium done. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with wedges of lemon.
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