Even without an occasion, quail always seems like an occasion.
- a brace of pasture-raised certified organic quail from Abra Morawiec’s Feisty Acres Farm in Jamesport, Long Island, each weighing a little more than 8 ounces, rinsed, dried inside and out, the cavities seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, with one quarter of a gently squeezed organic Whole Foods Market lemon inserted in each, the legs tied together and the wings sewn close to the body, their bodies rubbed all over with a mix of spices and olive oil (a third of a teaspoon of cumin and a fourth of a teaspoon of coriander, ground together and placed in a small bowl, where a bit of powdered Nigerian cayenne and 2 tablespoons of olive oil were added) then sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper, the birds placed breast side up in a small enameled cast iron roasting pan just large enough to accommodate both (set on top of sections of 2 celery stems from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, to keep them upright), placed in a 425º oven for about 9 or 10 minutes, at which time they were brushed with the remaining spice and oil mixture, continued with the roasting until done (an instant-read thermometer would register 150º, and the meat should feel slightly firm, and the juices run pale pink if the bird is punctured with a skewer), then removed from the oven, covered with tin foil and allowed to rest for 5 minutes before they were arranged on warm plates, drizzled with the pan juices and garnished with chopped parsley from Keith’s Farm
- one pound of pinto potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved lengthwise, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, rosemary leaves from from Stokes Farm, a small amount of crushed dark home-dried habanada pepper, then arranged cut side down on a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 425º for about 20 minutes
- the central part of what had been a large head of Treviso radicchio from Tamarack Farms (I had used the outer leaves in an earlier meal) cut lengthwise into 4 quarters, the solid stem ends pierced with a knife to allow for even cooking, each quarter pierced with toothpicks (it was faster than tying them with string), arranged on a medium size Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan, branches of thyme from Keith’s Farm cast on top, seasoned generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzled with a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil, baked in a pre-heated 425º oven for 10 minutes or so, turned over and baked for another 8 or 10 minutes, arranged on the plates and drizzled with a very small amount of balsamic vinegar
- the wine was an excellent Portuguese (Douro) red, Casa de Arrochella Grandes Quintas Colheita 2009, from Garnet Wines
- the music was Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Rafael Kubelik conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Chorus, with soloists Edith Mathis and Brigitte Fassbaender
Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du,
Mein Staub, nach kurzer Ruh!
[image above, of Alma and Gustav Mahler walking near Toblach, from Alma]