I have never cooked quails before because they are hard to get when you live in country Australia. I use to eat them often when I was little because my father had a quail farm in Catalonia. Children loved the quail eggs: fried, boiled, in an omelette... There are many traditional Catalan recipes to cook quails. This recipe, pickled with vinegar and spices was a very traditional way to keep game birds without the need to be refrigerated. The taste improves with the time, so it's better if you can cook the recipe the day before.
4 quails, butterflied
Sea salt and pepper, for seasoning
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
15 black peppercorns
10 red peppercorns
a pinch of both sweet paprika and saffron
200ml sherry vinegar
200ml extra virgin olive oil
200ml dry white wine
Butterfly the quails and season with salt and pepper.
In a big frypan, put a bit of olive oil and fry the quails until nicely browned.
Remove from pan and set apart.
Using the same frypan, add a bit more oil to the pan and fry the onion and the garlic in low-heat.
Add the rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, paprika and saffron and fry until the onion is tender.
Add the vinegar, oil and wine to the pan and bring to the boil.
Add the quails and lower heat to a minimum. Cover the pan and cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning over the quails halfway.
Turn off the heat and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
Serve straight away or just keep them in the sauce until ready to eat.
You can serve them hot or at room temperature.