<i>Makes 2 to 4 servings</i>
4 boned quail, preferably local (see note below)
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
2 tablespoons apple juice or cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground smoked poblanos
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
3 medium carrots, preferably white or yellow, peeled, cut into thin diagonal slices and steamed
2 generous handfuls small salad greens
Set the quail on a clean work surface, pat off any excess moisture and season all over with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Put the apple juice or cider, vinegar and ground poblanos into a small Mason jar. Season with about 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and several generous turns of black pepper. Add the olive oil and creme fraiche, close the jar and shake vigorously. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
Put the carrots into a small bowl and drizzle some of the dressing over them. Set aside.
Brush a heavy ridged pan very lightly with olive oil and set over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the quail and top with a heavy lid or a cooking tile. Cooking for three minutes, remove the lid or tile, turn over, return the lid or tile and cook for three minutes more. Transfer to a work surface.
Divide the greens among individual plates and scatter carrots over each portion. Top with quail, spoon dressing over everything and serve immediately.
Note: "Boned" quail is only partially boned; leg and wing bones remain. But removing the breast bones flattens the quail and allow it to be grilled in this manner, resulting in succulent and rare meat. You can usually find boned quail in Asian markets, though it is not local.
<i>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at email@example.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</i>