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Warm Quail (or Chicken) Salad with Apple, Hazelnuts, and Oregon Blue Cheese



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Warm Quail (or Chicken) Salad with Apple, Hazelnuts, and Oregon Blue Cheese
Food & Wine’s Best of the Best,Vol. 4

Food & Wine Books, Editor in Chief Judith Hill, 2001, American Express Publishing Corp.
From Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest
By Cory Schreiber, 2000, Ten Speed Press

Serves 4 as an appetizer

“Oregon blue cheese is produced by the Rogue River Creamery, located in the southern portion of the state. While the Rogue River blue may not be as creamy as its American and European counterparts, it’s perfect in salad preparations. Pair it with quail, apples, pears, and cracked hazelnuts for a hearty appetizer that celebrates the bounty of the autumn harvest in the Pacific Northwest.”

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon undiluted orange juice concentrate
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless quail or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
10 cups (10 ounces) mixed baby greens
1 unpeeled pippin apple, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
4 ounces Oregon blue cheese or other blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

To prepare the dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the oil, the vinegar, shallots, water, orange juice concentrate, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper; set aside.

To prepare the quail or chicken:  Preheat the broiler. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season the quail or chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place the quail or chicken in the skillet and brown evenly on all sides. Transfer to a broiler pan and broil 4 inches from the heat source, turning once, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife; set aside and keep warm.

To prepare the salad:  In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, apples, raisins, hazelnuts, and blue cheese. Add the dressing and toss.

To serve, portion the salad onto 4 plates. Top with the warm quail or chicken.

Toasting nuts:  Preheat the oven to 325° [F]. Place the nuts on a large jelly roll pan, spreading them out so they don’t touch. Toast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, occasionally shaking the pan so the nuts toast evenly.
If toasting hazelnuts, remove the nuts from the oven and wrap them in a dish towel to steam and cool them. Once they have cooled a bit, roll the hazelnuts around in the towel to remove the skins. Transfer the hazelnuts to a colander with medium holes and roll them around with your hands to knock off the remainder of the skins. As the hazelnuts are skinned, remove them from the colander.

Food & Wine Test-Kitchen Tips:  You can tell this recipe comes from a restaurant – not that it’s difficult to make, but the portions are large. At home, we’d probably serve this quantity to 8 people, cutting the quail in half after cooking to make 8 portions. Or, this hearty salad would make an excellent main dish as is.

Wine Recommendations:  Brachetto d’Acqui, a sparkling red wine from northern Italy, would be a marvelous choice to accompany this dish. Its lush flavors will be more than a match for the blue cheese without overwhelming the quail.


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