Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reynolds Plantation Quail Breasts

Reynolds Plantation is a little bit of heaven sprawled along the shores of Lake Oconee between Atlanta and Athens, GA.  With six courses and the elite TaylorMade Kingdom it's known as a golf destination but also offers fishing, tennis, a Ritz-Carlton spa and some remarkable cuisine.

I was fortunate enough to be a guest there when Chef de Cuisine Eric Fulkerson was showcasing his staff's abilities. During a reception at the resort's Heritage and Nature Center, they passed country fried breasts of quail with golden tomato and bacon jam that disappeared as quickly as they emerged from the kitchen. Try it yourself and you'll soon see why.

Reynolds Plantation Country Fried Quail Breasts with Golden Tomato and Bacon Jam

Quail Breasts
6 single-lobe quail breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt and pepper
1 tsp. dry ranch dressing
4 large eggs, whisked together
1/2 cup seasoned flour
1/4 cup corn meal
3/4 cup corn oil

Make sure quail breasts are split and cartilage removed; trim any fat but do not remove the skin.

In a small bowl mix the flour, salt and pepper with the ranch seasoning. Mix 1/2 cup of this with the corn meal in another bowl.

Add oil to a frying pan and place on medium heat;  allow to heat for about 2 minutes without smoking.

Coat the quail with flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the egg then into the corn meal mix, again shaking off the excess. Gently place coated breasts into the hot oil. Cook for one minute, turn and cook for another minute. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Arrange cooked breasts on a plate topping each with a teaspoon of Tomato and Bacon Jam.

Golden Tomato and Bacon Jam
 Makes 1 pint ( 16 2-tablespoon servings)

1 lb. smoked bacon
2 lbs. very ripe yellow tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 TBS. cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat cook the bacon until almost rendered, not too crispy, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels and drain excess fat.

In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, onion, sugar, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium, Crumble the bacon into the tomato mixure.

Simmer until very thick, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Let the jam cool then ladle into jars. Can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If freezing, divide the jam among several small jars. When ready to use, let a jar thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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