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Degustation At Home: Part 1

Degustation Eureka 89

Degustation. The very word has a ring of grandeur to it. And the delicate portions of elegantly plated food that define it further add to the sophistication. So just imagine the look on your guests’ faces when you serve up a degustation dish at your next dinner party.

Granted, degustation at home requires culinary skills that are slightly more advanced than being able to boil an egg but not to the extent of a flambé. That is the first bit of good news. The second bit of good news is that any degustation dish can easily be pared down in terms of ingredients and cooking methods without compromising its flavour or appearance.

This is where Renee Martillano comes in. The head chef of Eureka 89 is known for creating the kind of degustation menus that are crowd-pullers but she also has a talent for simplifying complex dishes.

One of her latest inventions is the Quail, Cauliflower & Mushroom dish, which featured on Eureka 89’s recent summer menu. She now shares that dish on woman with drive.

Also read: Australia’s Best Dessert Degustation Menu’s 


Quail, Cauliflower & Mushroom

Serves 2



1 quail                                                         20g tomato paste

2 medium field mushrooms                   1500ml chicken stock

½ head cauliflower                                   100ml red wine

1 leek                                                          50ml port

1 medium carrot                                       30g butter

2 stalks celery                                            500ml cream

2 sprigs tarragon                                       1 clove garlic

2 springs thyme                                         Oil

2 bay leaves                                                Salt and pepper to taste


Separate the leg and breast from the quail and place the remaining carcass into a bowl. Refrigerate.

Trim any fat (not the skin) from the breast and debone the quail leg, being careful to maintain its shape. Place in a bowl. Refrigerate.

Place the quail carcass, leg bones and any excess meat into a baking dish and roast in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes or until brown. Set aside.

Cut the ½ head of cauliflower into half. Slice one half into 3mm pieces with a mandolin. Set aside.

Remove the stalk from the other cauliflower half and cut into 5mm florets. Sauté with 20g butter until soft. Set aside.

Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and slice into 3mm pieces. Sauté the mushrooms in oil and 10g butter for 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste and set aside.

Sauté the deboned legs in oil lightly browned on both sides. Set aside for braising.


Braising liquid

Dice the celery, leek and carrot into 1.5cm squares and sauté in oil for 1 minute. Add the herbs, bay leaves, garlic and tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add the wine and port then reduce until the liquid has halved.


Braising the quail legs

Add the braising liquid, chicken stock and seared legs to a large baking pan or dish. Cook in a preheated oven for 20 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius. Once done, remove the legs from the braising liquid and set aside.

Add the braising liquid and roasted bones to a large pot and reduce until the mixture is thick enough for a sauce. This should take about 15 minutes.


The cauliflower puree (Do this while the quail legs are braising in the oven)

Add the cream and sliced cauliflower to a heavy pot and simmer until soft. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Blend the warm mixture until very smooth and set aside.


The quail breast (Cook just before serving)

Sauté the quail breast (skin side down) until the skin becomes crispy. Turn it over, and add the quail legs and some butter to the pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes, using the butter to baste the quail until the breast is cooked.


Serving suggestions
Spoon the cauliflower puree into the middle of a warm plate, arrange the quail breast and leg on top then add the cauliflower florets and mushroom. Spoon the desired amount of sauce over the top to finish.


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