Photo by Lucie Monk
Some recipes arrive with half the work done for you—an itemized list of your make-ahead, your meanwhile, your maybe-use-this-ingredient-instead. It’s a courtesy and an undervalued one, a cook will realize, when she is faced with arranging and prioritizing several components into a single meal, due on the table all at once.
Time management has become my greatest asset as a cook—learned, trial-by-fire, while making tapas in a bistro kitchen for almost a year—and it has highly decreased the likelihood that an ambitious recipe will end in embarrassed tears.
With this confidence, I faced down prosciutto-wrapped quail with Creole mustard jus and mustard greens gnocchi, a recipe from our archives. After an assessment of its difficulty, I leapt into the last, most-complicated component and worked backwards.
My evening unspooled as follows: boiling the mustard greens (I opted for a frozen bag when the market was out of fresh) and grating the cheese; chopping my carrots, celery, and onions in preparation for the Creole mustard jus; rendering my hands unavailable for any other task while making the gnocchi dough; washing up and getting the first round of dishes out of the way; boiling (and carefully eyeing) the gnocchi; drying, seasoning, and prosciutto-wrapping the quail; making the jus; and, finally, browning the bird on my cast-iron grill pan.
While the list seems long, it moves quickly. If you’re the sort who likes being elbow-deep in flour while a stockpot crackles nearby (and I am), then you’ll even have fun with it.
Adhere to my basic outline and you should emerge without too much fluster. Oh, and it’s divinely delicious, too—completely worth the minimized hassle.
Note: I advise liberal use of flour in the gnocchi dough, until it reaches the tacky quality described in the recipe. It’ll prove most valuable when you begin to roll out your gnocchi logs.
1 of 9
2 of 9
3 of 9
4 of 9
5 of 9
6 of 9
7 of 9
8 of 9
9 of 9
PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED QUAIL with Creole mustard jus and mustard greens gnocchi
From Chef Mimi Assad of Le Foret (featured in our May 2011 issue)
Serves 4–6 as appetizer
For the gnocchi:
- 1 bunch mustard greens
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs,
- finely ground
- salt and pepper
- Note: Piping bag is needed for recipe
- Remove the greens from the stems, wash them, then roughly chop. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add greens then boil to tender.
- Remove the greens from the water into an ice bath. Reserve the cooking liquid. Squeeze the excess water from the greens and place them in a blender or food processor.
- Add the olive oil and Parmesan. Purée the mixture, adding cooking liquid to loosen it enough to move in the machine. Blend to a smooth purée. Using a rubber spatula, remove the mixture from the machine into a medium-sized bowl. Add the egg yolks and egg. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour and panko crumbs. Stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be tacky, but dough-like.
- Place the dough in the piping bag. Cut a 1/2-inch hole in the tip of the bag. Heavily flour a work surface, then pipe the dough onto it in 12-inch logs.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil. Roll the logs in the flour to completely coat them and make them uniform in shape. Using a knife or pastry cutter, cut the logs into 1-inch pieces.
- Add the gnocchi to the boiling water. Once they float to the surface, cook them 3–4 minutes more. Place about 2–3 tbsp. of olive oil in a bowl. Once the gnocchis are cooked, place them in the oiled bowl using a slotted spoon.
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. white wine
- 1 + 1/2 cups low sodium or
- no-salt chicken stock
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 tbsp. Creole mustard
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- minced parsley
- minced chives
In a saucepan, sweat the onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil. Stir in the tomato paste. Cook one minute then deglaze with white wine. Add the chicken stock and thyme sprigs. Reduce by half or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan. Add the Creole mustard and pine nuts.
For the quail:
- 6 deboned quail (note: I used bone-in)
- salt and pepper
- 24 thinly sliced 1/2-inch-
- wide strips of prosciutto
- olive oil
Cut each deboned quail down the middle, then divide the halves into breast and leg pieces. Salt and pepper the pieces.
Wrap each piece in a strip of prosciutto—don’t overlap the prosciutto too much. Lightly oil the pieces with olive oil. Place on the grill and cook to your liking.