Tie a thin slice of bacon over the breast of each bird; put the quails into a baking-dish, with a little boiling water; cover it closely and set it on top of the range, letting the birds steam ten or fifteen minutes. This plumps them. Then take off the cover and the pork, and put the birds into the oven, basting them often with butter. Brown them, and serve with currant-
Cover the breasts with very thin slices of bacon, or rub them well with butter; roast them before a good fire, basting them often with butter. Fifteen minutes will cook them sufficiently, if they are served very hot, although twenty minutes would be my rule, not being an epicure. Salt and pepper them. Serve on a hot dish the moment they are cooked. They are very good with a bread-sauce made as follows:
First roll a pint of dry bread-crumbs, and pass half of them through a sieve. Put a small onion into a pint of milk, and when it boils remove the onion, and thicken the milk with the half-pint of sifted crumbs; take it from the fire, and stir in a heaping tea-spoonful of butter, a grating of nutmeg, pepper and salt. Put a little butter into a sauté pan, and when hot throw in the half-pint of coarser crumbs which remained in the sieve; stir them over the fire until they assume a light-brown color, taking care that they do not burn, and stir into them a small pinch of Cayenne pepper. They should be rather dry. For serving, put a plump roast quail on a plate, pour over a table-spoonful of the white sauce, and on this place a table-spoonful of the crumbs. The sauce-boat and plate of crumbs may be passed separately, or the host may arrange them at table before the birds are passed. This makes a dish often seen in England.
With a sharp-pointed knife carefully cut the breasts from quails or pigeons; or, as professional cooks say, fillet them. At the small end of each breast stick in a bone taken from the leg, and trimmed. The breasts should now resemble cutlets. Sprinkle a little pepper and salt over each one, dip it in melted butter, and roll it in flour or sifted cracker-crumbs. Put the cutlets one side until ready to cook, as they should be cooked only just before sending them to the table. They should then be fried in a sauté pan in hot butter. They may be served without further trouble in a circle with a centre of green pease, which makes a most delicate dish for a company dinner course. However, there is a more elaborate way of finishing them, as follows: Put the carcasses into some cold water with very small pieces of pork and onion, sufficient only to produce the slightest flavoring. Simmer this about an hour; strain, thicken with a little browned roux, and season it with a little pepper and salt. As soon as the livers are done, take them out, mash, and moisten them with a little of the sauce. Prepare little thin pieces of toast, one for each breast; butter, and spread them with the mashed livers. Turn the cutlets over in this sauce, and use the little of it that remains for dipping in the pieces of toast. Serve the cutlets on the toast in a circle, with a centre of pease, French string-beans (haricots verts), potatoes à la Parisienne, or mushrooms; or cut the pieces of toast into the form of a long triangle, so that the points may meet in the centre, and place the bones of the cutlets to meet in the centre also. Put then a row of vegetables on the outside.
Remove the fillets or breasts of six quails. Cut each fillet in two, and trim the parts to a round shape. Cook half a pound of truffles in Madeira, and cut them into slices. Put the scol-lops of quails into a sauté pan with some butter; fry them until they are done, then mix them with the truffles. Put a nice border on a dish; pile the centre with the scollops and truffles; pour in some Espagnole or brown sauce, flavored with a little Madeira, and serve. Truffles can be procured canned.
Melt butter the size of an egg; when hot, add to it two or three table-spoonfuls of flour. Stir this carefully over a slow fire until it has taken a clear, light-brown color. Mix in this one half-pint of stock, broth, or gravy; then put it to the side of the fire to simmer until wanted, skimming it carefully, and not allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pan. Strain it. Just before serving it with the quails, add one or two tea-spoonfuls of Madeira.
Split them at the back. Broil, basting them often with butter, over a hot fire. As soon as the quails are done, add a little more butter, with pepper and salt, and place them for a moment into the oven to soak the butter. Serve them on thin slices of buttered toast, with a little currant-jelly on top of each quail.
Quails are sometimes braised in the same manner as pigeons. (See receipt.)