Spatchcocked quail with a roasted nut sauce

Spatchcocked quail with a roasted nut sauce

Codornices con romesco

Spanish Made Simple

It is generally when the sun is out that spatchcocking comes in handy to get perfectly cooked birds, and this dish is ideal cooked over a barbecue, although it’s just as good under the grill (broiler). This recipe and the accompanying sauce will be a great addition to your summer grilling repertoire.


Quantity Ingredient
4 quail
1 lemon, Quartered, to serve

For the romesco sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 pimientos choriceros, chopped, Optional
1 red pepper
3 tomatoes
1/2 head of garlic, Peeled and cloves separated
100ml olive oil
50g blanched
30g blanched hazelnuts, (or pine nuts or more almonds)
1 slice bread
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
A pinch sweet pimenton
A pinch rock or sea salt

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
10 sprigs fresh thyme, Leaves finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sweet or spicy pimenton
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
75ml olive oil


  1. Soak the pimientos choriceros for the romesco sauce in water for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Tip the vegetables for the romesco sauce onto a roasting tray and rub with the olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes, adding the nuts and the slice of bread for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Set aside to cool slightly and then peel the vegetables and blend with the bread, nuts, sherry vinegar, pimentón, salt and pimientos choriceros, if using (by pestle, hand blender or food processor) until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Lay a quail on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut the rib cage wide open. Discard the chest bone, flip over the quail and flatten it against the board. Insert 2 skewers diagonally in a cross formation from the wing to the leg, passing through the breast so that you have a completely flat bird. Repeat with the rest of the quail.
  5. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and brush all over the quail.
  6. Preheat the grill (broiler) or barbecue to hot or place a griddle pan over a high heat and cook the quail to your liking, no longer than 5 minutes on each side and ideally so that it is still pinkish and juicy in the middle.
  7. Serve each of the quail with a lemon wedge and a spoonful of romesco sauce.


  • Romesco can also be enjoyed with grilled or boiled veg or pan-fried fish.
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