Steamed and fried quail with aioli
4 5-ounce (142 g) quails, spatchcocked
1 pound (454 g) kosher salt, divided
1 orange, zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ star anise, toasted
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) black peppercorns
4 cups (960 ml) oil, for frying
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup (120 ml) black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon (3.5 ml) cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) nutmeg
2 1/2 cups (590 ml) potato starch
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) Dijon mustard
3/4 cup (180 ml) light vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
In a mortar, combine 1/4 kosher salt, orange zest, thyme leaves, bay leaf, garlic, star anise, and peppercorns.
With a pestle, crush the ingredients to a rough powder and combine with the remaining salt to make a cure mixture.
Using butcher shears or a knife, remove the backbone from the quails.
Season the quails thoroughly with the cure mixture.
Refrigerate for two hours uncovered.
Rinse the cure off the quails.
Using a stove top steamer, steam the quail for twenty minutes, cool to room temperature.
In a dry pan over medium-heat, toast cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves. Remove from pan and cool.
Grind toasted spices in a spice grinder.
In a bowl, combine ground spices, nutmeg, and potato starch.
Season with kosher salt.
In a blender, combine the egg, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard, blend on low.
While blending, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture to make a mayonnaise.
When thick, season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
In a large heavy pot, heat frying oil to 400 F (205 C).
In a large, bowl dredge the quail in four spice mix.
Fry quails in batches for two minutes per batch or until crispy. Drain.
Let rest for five minutes and serve with aioli.
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