Recipe: Herb-Grilled Quail


by Jamey Evoniuk, executive chef at The Candy Apple Café & Cocktails // photo by Agnes Lopez

This recipe is featured in the new book, The Chef’s Canvas, a 288-page hardback laden with dishes created by Northeast Florida’s leading chefs, all inspired by art and natural forms at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Evoniuk’s dish was inspired by the Cummer oak trees which surround the Cummer Café. For Evoniuk, the oaks represents “beauty, strength, and wisdom,” connecting the past with ­the future. The book is released March 16 and will be available at

Herb Grilled Quail
4 semi-boneless quail
Extra virgin olive oil
1 T. chopped thyme
1 T. chopped rosemary
1 T. chopped sage
8 baby beets, roasted and peeled
8 fiddlehead ferns, blanched and sautéed with butter and shallots
Sliced radishes
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Marinate the quail in olive oil, thyme, rosemary and sage. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Remove from marinade and season with salt and pepper. 2. Preheat oven to 400°F. 3.  Stuff each quail with cornbread stuffing. 4. Using a thin piece of foil, wrap the midsection of the quail to keep stuffing in and fold the legs in. 5. Place on the grill, breast side down, for two minutes, then flip and cook on other side for two minutes. 6. Finish quail in the oven for seven minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. 7. Serve quail with mushroom gravy, roasted baby beets and fiddlehead ferns. Garnish with spiced walnuts and radishes.

Country Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
1 lb. country sausage, casing removed and crumbled
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. Creole spice
2 c. rosemary cornbread, cubed and oven dried
1 c. chicken stock 2 eggs 4 oz. goat cheese
1 T. chopped thyme
1 T. chopped rosemary Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. 2. Add sausage, celery, bell pepper and onion and cook until onion is translucent. 3. Add garlic, Creole spice, cornbread and chicken stock. 4. Fold in eggs, goat cheese and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Mushroom Gravy
2 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
¼ pound fresh morel mushrooms, if available (or dried mushrooms reconstituted in hot stock)
½ c. brandy
½ c. chicken stock
½ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste 

1. Sauté garlic and shallots in butter until fragrant. 2. Add morels and cook for 1 minute. 3. Add brandy and reduce until almost dry, add chicken stock and reduce by half, then add heavy cream and thyme and reduce by ¼. 4. Remove some of the morels from the sauce and puree the rest of the sauce in a blender until smooth. 5. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spiced Walnuts
1 egg white
¾ c. sugar
Cinnamon, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
1 pound walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a half sheet pan. 2. Whisk egg white until frothy. 3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and cayenne. 4. Coat walnuts thoroughly in egg white then toss in sugar mixture. 5. Pour walnuts onto greased sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. 6. Stir walnuts, then return to oven and cook another 5 minutes. 7. Repeat one more time, stirring walnuts and cooking for an additional 5 minutes (walnuts should bake for a total of 20 minutes). 8. Remove from oven and let cool.