Quail with Eggplant Relish

4 semi-boneless quail, brined for 30-45 minutes
salt and black pepper to taste
12 teaspoon thyme (dried)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon parsley minced
2 cups yellow squash and zucchini, julienned

  1. Brine quail in saltwater solution for approximately 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly after brining to remove excess salt.
  2. Rub the quail with salt, pepper, thyme, and 2 tablespoons oil.
  3. Grill quail to desired doneness. Should be 165F.
  4. Combine the sugar, salt, mustard, vinegar, remaining oil, and parsley.
  5. Toss the squash with the dressing.
  6. Divide squash among 4 plates and place 1 warm quail on top of squash. Serve with relish.

Eggplant Relish
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cider vinegar
2 pounds eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, 1/2 inch dice
1 cup green bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
1/2 cup tomato, peeled, seeded, 1/2 inch dice
1 tablespoon honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Plump the raisins in the vinegar for 15 minutes.
  3. Bake the eggplants (prick skin) for 1 hour or until the skins are shriveled and eggplants are soft. Remove and let cool.
  4. Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch dice.
  5. heat the olive oil over medium heat, add onion and green pepper, and cook 8 minutes or until soft.
  6. Add the salt and pepper, garlic, and jalapeno; stir will and cook 4 minutes.
  7. Add the tomato, the raisins with their soaking liquid, the honey, and eggplant. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring often.
  8. Correct seasoning and let set overnight for flavors to blend. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Chef: nice grill marks, nice color, well cooked. Relish was chilled, but doesn't have to be; nice bite, not overly spicy. The squash was a little soupy, could have used less by draining the veg, then sauce outside if you want to see the sauce.

Chef's tip: on presenting -- want to be sure it's appetizing and has the most expensive piece as the "showpiece." For a quail entree, 2 birds is typical, this is called a "brace." Use a variety of textures, colors and cooking methods for your plate (grilled, roasted, fried, etc.)

Personal/Team critique:The quail was really flavorful, brining gave the bird good moisture and richer flavor. Thought the squash had good flavor, but agreed that it could have been less soupy, eggplant relish went really well with the quail, I think it would have been better served warm. I was surprised y how much I enjoyed the relish