Grilled Quail with Cranberry Marsala Glaze and Clementines

Quail make for tasty appetizers at a festive dinner table. In our recipe, we pair the subtle flavors of the game birds with bright notes of cranberry and Clementines. The Marsala wine sets the deeper undertones to bring it all together.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6
Image of Grilled Quail with Cranberry Marsala Glaze and Clementines

  • 1 1/2 cups Marsala wine
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 quail
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 seedless Clementines

Bring the Marsala to a low boil in a pot. Add the cranberries. Reduce over medium-high heat until the Marsala turns red from the cranberries, about 10 minutes. Strain off the cranberries and discard them. Return the Marsala to a low boil and reduce to about 1/4 cup of liquid, about another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking at 500°F.

Butterfly each quail by using kitchen shears to cut out (and discard) the backbone. Next, snip the breast bone right down the middle. Optionally remove all the ribs and the wishbone to make it easier for your guests to enjoy the quail at the table. Tuck the wings up over the shoulders or just remove them entirely.

Dry each quail inside and out. Lightly brush on both sides with olive oil and season with salt.

Cut the Clementines into cubes by slicing through the peel. Using a slicing motion with the knife is critical. If you push down with the blade instead of slicing, you will crush the Clementine.

Add the honey to the Marsala reduction and warm over a simmering burner.

Grill the quail over direct heat. Start with the skin-side down. Grill for about 5 minutes. Flip the quail over, brush the skin side (now up) with glaze and continue cooking over direct heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

While the quail are cooking, grill the Clementine cubes over direct heat on two opposing sides until marked, about 2 minutes per side.

Serve quail individually with 2 Clementine cubes each.