You have probably heard of “Brick Chicken” in restaurants, now you can use this tasty method for cooking gamebirds at home. The bricking flattens the breast portion for even cooking while retaining the juices for crispy, moist quail. The Cannellini Beans with Escarole is rustic Italian goodness which perfectly complements the quail. This is an outstanding recipe to showcase your hard-earned quail.



  • 4 cups water

  • ¼ cup kosher salt

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 10-12 Quail


  • 1 large head Escarole

  • Kosher Salt for the boiling water

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage

  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (rinse in water and drain)

  • ½ cup water

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Kosher salt / ground black pepper

  • Italian Seasoning

Preparation Method
This recipe uses whole, plucked quail. I didn’t get to hunt any last year, but I found some nicely dressed frozen ones at my local market. Most upscale markets and Asian stores will have them in the freezer department. Put the salt, brown sugar, and water into a large zip lock, seal and shake until fully dissolved. Add the quails and brine in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 2 hours, or ideally overnight. Remove from the brine and pat dry. Spatchcock the quail by cutting out the back bone with either a knife or some poultry shears. Lay the quail on its back and smack it with the palm of your hand to flatten the breast. Salt and pepper the birds to taste and sprinkle liberally with Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Pick a large sauté pan to prepare the beans in. Bring an inch of salted water to a boil over high heat. Rinse the head of Escarole and chop into 1 inch pieces. Add the Escarole to the boiling water and blanch 1-2 minutes, or until it is fairly wilted. Pour the Escarole into a dish towel lined colander. Allow to cool and drain. Leave it in the towel as you will need it later.

In the same pan warm the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the chopped garlic to the onions and cook for another 3 minutes. Next add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into small pieces as you go. Cook until it is no longer pink. Stir in the beans.

Take the dish towel with the escarole still in it and form a pouch. Squeeze as much moisture as much as possible from the lettuce. Add it to the pan with a half of cup water, cover and cook until beans are heated through.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle the cheese over the top and stir.

While the beans are simmering it is time to “brick” the quail. You will need a large and a medium fry pan. Cast iron works the best, and the smaller pan must fit into the larger pan with at least an inch of clearance on the sides to eliminate steam, which will keep your quail from browning.. A brick wrapped in foil is used to weigh the smaller pan down to press the quail that will be cooking in the larger skillet.

Heat the oil and butter in your large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the quail breast side down and cover to press with the smaller pan and brick. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes until golden, crispy brown. You may have to cook them in batches, I could only fit four in the pan at a time.

Plate the quail over the beans. The flavor combination is a real taste treat. Serve this meal with a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, or a crisp Pilsner. It is truly unique way to serve this tasty bird.