Mario Batali's Quail Spiedini with Sage Polenta and Asiago


  • 4 skewers, soaked in water 8 hours
  • 8 quail, boneless
  • 4 pieces pancetta, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • 2 ounces virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 cups water
  • 10 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 cup Asiago, freshly grated


  1. 1.

    Check quail for bones or feathers; place in mixing bowl. Add pancetta, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and black pepper; toss to coat. Set aside and preheat grill.

  2. 2.

    In a 3-quart saucepan, place onion, water, and sage and bring to a boil. Thread one quail, followed by one piece of pancetta, followed by one quail on each of four skewers; place on hottest part of grill. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until just pink at the leg bones.

  3. 3.

    Meanwhile, pour polenta slowly in a thin stream into boiling water, until all is incorporated and polenta thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Switch to a wooden spoon, add Asiago, and cook 1 minute more, until as thick as paste. Remove from heat; pour on to a service-ready cutting board. Pile skewers on top of polenta, and serve.

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