This is a special-event dish with real autumn appeal, as it pairs a game bird with tender, simmered apples and a buttery apple sauce. The pâté is the surprise in the middle. The recipe comes from Byron Bergeron at Fig Tree Restaurant.
1 quart (4 cups) apple cider
4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored, but kept whole)
5 tablespoons butter, divided use
10 (4-5-ounce) boned quail
Sea salt, for seasoning
1 pound black truffle mousse pâté
For sauce: In a saucepan large enough to hold a quart of liquid and 4 apples, put the apple cider and bring to a simmer. Add apples. Cover pan and poach over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until apples are done but still firm. Remove apples and reduce liquid to syrup (about a cup). Whisk 3 tablespoons of the butter into reduced liquid 1 tablespoon at the time. Reduce heat and keep sauce warm.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place quail on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with oil and season birds with salt. Insert a portion of the pâté into the cavity of each quail. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the quail with it. Roast the quail for 10-12 minutes or until done at 160 degrees internal temperature. Lightly cover with foil and set aside to rest.
Slice cooked apples into thin rings. Place 3 or 4 rings in the middle of each plate. Place the roasted quail on top of apples and drizzle sauce around the plate and over the quail.
Makes 5-10 servings.
From Byron Bergeron/Fig Tree, 515 Villita St.