Southern fried chicken is a comfort food that is not found in French cooking. The French way for such finely tasting birds such as quail is to spatchcock the birds and grill over hot coals with a simple marinade of 2 garlic cloves crushed, 2 T. lemon juice, 3 T. olive oil, and freshly ground salt and pepper which takes about 5 minutes per side. The Spanish way is the same, except cooked on la plancha, a hot flat griddle over the flame or an open fire. We like to use this Southern Fried Chicken recipe for dressing up game birds for a picnic party feast.
1 qt. Buttermilk
1/4 c. of hot sauce
1/4 c. French sea salt or kosher salt
16 pieces of chicken breasts, legs, thighs or 4-6 deboned and flattened quail
6 c. of vegetable oil, lard, or bacon grease for frying
4 c. of all-purpose flour
1/4 c. of paprika
3 T. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. cayenne pepper
Combine buttermilk, hot sauce, and salt in a large bowl. Add quail or chicken, cover the bowl and refrigerate over night.
Heat up your large cast iron skillet and heat over high heat until a pinch of flour in the oil bubbles.
In a medium bowl combine flour, paprika, black pepper and cayenne. Working in batches, remove the bird pieces from the buttermilk, coat them in the flour mixture, shake off the excess, and place them in the hot fat.
Let them cook on one side for about 8 minutes then flipping them over to the other side for another 8 minutes. Don’t flip more than once or the batter will fall of! Just be patient and turn heat lower so you don’t burn the batter.
Transfer meat to a wire rack to drain; blot them with paper towels. Continue the process, working in batches, until all the chicken is cooked.
Serve with an adobo sauce.
ALTERNATE VERSION (GRILLED WITH GLAZE) – For a lighter version, simply marinate the quail in a dark beer such as Shiner Bock, adding 1 T. red pepper flakes, then dip in flour and grill the quail pieces using the adobe as needed for a spicy cooking glaze.