Recipe by Anjum Anand
This is ridiculously easy. It takes minutes to make and cook (although, for the best results, leave to marinate for one hour). This will soon become your favourite quick meal and all it needs is salad or some rice and vegetables. Spatchcocking is very easy and essential in the repertoire of a time-saving cook, as the birds will be ready so much more quickly.
Makes 4, can be doubled
For the quails
For the marinade
Spatchcock your quails: place a bird breast-side down on a work surface. Using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut down either side of the backbone all the way, to cut it out. Turn over and press down on the breastbone with the heel of your hand to gently flatten. Tuck the little legs slightly in and, taking one skewer (if using), pierce one leg at a diagonal angle through to the opposite wing. Repeat with the other side, through the other leg and wing, so the quail is speared with two diagonal skewers, as in the photo. This helps the bird keep its shape (but if you don’t have any skewers the recipe will still work fine). Season both sides lightly. Repeat to spatchcock the remaining quails.
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and smear over the quail, coating both sides well. Cover and marinate in the fridge for one hour, or a couple of hours if you have time.
When ready to cook, preheat the grill (I use an oven grill and the fan). Place the quails on an oiled baking tray or foil on the middle shelf. Cook for eight minutes, then turn and cook for another four or five minutes or until done and golden on both sides. Check the birds are cooked by piercing the largest through its thickest point; the juice should run clear with no trace of pink. If they are not ready, cook for a few minutes longer, then check again. Serve immediately.