Mascarpone and Pancetta Roasted Quail with Basil Zucchini

From issue #2.
Photography by Photography by Bruce Nicholson.
Mascarpone and Pancetta Roasted Quail with Basil Zucchini

Serves: 4 - 6


8 quail, rinsed and dried
8 slices pancetta
2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

150g mascarpone
2 cloves garlic, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
Zucchini with Basil Dressing
1 kg zucchini, washed and sliced thickly on the diagonal
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup well packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1⁄2 cup olive oil


Season the cavity of each quail with salt and pepper and place 1⁄4 of a lemon inside each one.

Combine all of the stuffing ingredients. Gently loosen the skin over the quail breasts and push a spoonful of mascarpone mixture under the skin, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Rub each quail with a little oil and season with salt and black pepper. Lay a slice of pancetta over each quail breast. Tie the legs together and secure the pancetta with string. The quail can be prepared to this point and refrigerated until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Place the quail on a shallow oven tray and roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover loosely and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the quail is cooking toss the zucchini in the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and transfer to a shallow baking tray. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Place all the dressing ingredients into a food processor and purée. Taste for seasoning and toss with the roasted zucchini.

To serve: Carefully remove the string, cut each quail, using scissors, in half through the backbone and serve with the basil zucchini and a simple green salad. Serves 4-6

Pancetta: Italian bacon that has been cured but not smoked. Both locally made and imported pancetta is available from specialty stores. It should be sliced paper thin for use