Quail With Fregola And Olives

Yield4 to 6 servings

Timeone hour


Veering from quail, you could serve the fregola, scooped from the pot without baking, alongside lamb chops or a roast. As for those figs, they’ll honor a wedge of sharp cheese, with the last of the wine.

Serve with


For the quail with fregola and olives

  • 12quails, butterflied
  •  Salt
  •  pepper
  • 6tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3tablespoons black-olive tapenade
  • 5cups chicken stock, or as needed
  • ½cup finely chopped fennel
  • 1cup finely chopped onion
  • 3garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  •  Leaves from 3 rosemary sprigs
  • cup pitted black Niçoise olives, chopped
  • 1pound fregola (toasted pasta)


  1. Rinse the quails, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Brown as many quails, skin side down, as will fit in one layer. Remove seared birds to a platter and repeat with the rest. Mix the tapenade with the remaining olive oil and spread on the uncooked side of each quail.
  2. Heat the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, turn the heat in the sauté pan to low, add the fennel, onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, rosemary and olives. Stir in the fregola. Begin adding warm stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring while it is absorbed, as if making risotto. After 20 to 25 minutes, the fregola should be al dente. Add any quail juices from the platter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon the fregola into a large baking dish. On top of it, arrange the quails, skin side up, slightly overlapping. Bake 20 minutes.

Originally published in The New York Times Quail With Fregola And Olives, by Florence Fabricant