A sampling of the recipes found in A Bird Hunters Table and Game On: A Bird Hunter's Table, Reloaded.
Grilled Quail with Pancetta, White Beans, and Sage
8 quail (1-2 per person)
8 ounces pancetta cut into 1 inch cubes
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½-¾ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 red onion, ¼ inch dice
8-10 fresh sage leaves, chopped or minced
2 15-ounce cans (or about 2 cups) white beans, rinsed and drained
Splash of white wine
Combine the pancetta, vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, honey and pepper in a large bowl. Add the quail and marinate. You can leave the birds in the marinade for several hours or just while you are preparing the rest of the recipe. Preheat your grill.
In a sauté pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the sage leaves, and beans and cook until fragrant. You may need to add a bit more olive oil and I add a splash of white wine. Season with salt and set aside, but keep warm. Remove the quail from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Also remove the pancetta and drain in on paper towels. Toss out the rest of the marinade. Put the pancetta in a non-stick pan and cook turning occasionally until golden brown. Set aside.
When the grill is ready, place the quail on the grill, breast side down, and cook for a couple of minutes (3-4 on the first side) and 2 minutes on the other, keeping the bird medium-rare. I butterflied my birds so that the breasts will lie flat. Reheat the beans if necessary and arrange in the center of the plate. Place the quail on top of the beans, arrange the pancetta around the beans and quail, and drizzle with a teaspoon of remaining olive oil.
Note: The white beans are a traditional sort of Italian dish that typically includes pork shoulder. With the crispy pancetta in this recipe I think it is overkill, but if you make the white beans as a side dish another time, you may want to add bacon, pancetta or pork shoulder. If you do not care for white beans, try risotto or rice with sage (with or without the bacon or sausage). It is also delicious over polenta.
"One does not hunt in order to kill;
on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted."
José Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, 1943
Spicy Cod with Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
This is a wonderful and easy way to prepare fish, and is equally good with pork, chicken, or light meat gamebirds. Serves 4-6.
¼ cup olive oil
2 pounds cod fillets
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (can substitute diced canned tomatoes)
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste
3 tablespoons capers
1 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ sweet onion, diced
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Add half of fish to skillet and sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fish to platter. Repeat with remaining fish. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add crushed red pepper, anchovy paste, tomato pastes, and garlic, and sauté 1 minute longer until mixture becomes fragrant. Add tomatoes and olives. Sauté until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 2 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.
Coffee Rubbed Venison or Elk Steaks
A flavorful way to serve all types of red meat. The coffee adds zest accented by the sweetness of the brown sugar and the spice of the chili powder. Serves 4-6.
¼ cup ground dark roast or espresso coffee
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 pounds venison or elk steaks
Stir together first 5 ingredients; rub over steaks. Let stand minimum of 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, allow the steaks to come to room temperature.
Preheat grill to 400°F to 450°F (high) heat. Grill steaks, covered with grill lid, 4-5 minutes on each side, or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and let stand 5 minutes. If you want to caramelize the rub, first heat a cast iron skillet, add olive oil or butter to coat, and quickly sear steaks on all sides, before grilling. Reduce grill time to 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking time depends over thickness of your cut of meat. When ready to serve, cut across the grain into thin strips. Serves with grilled vegetables and mango-avocado salsa (See page 147).
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson