2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
400g baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh thyme
150g green olives, pitted
100ml dry vermouth, such as Noilly Prat.
to serve: 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and crusty bread
1Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a large cast-iron dish. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, potatoes and lardons and sauté for 10 minutes until softened.
2Season quail generously, smear with butter and sprinkle with thyme. Place on top of vegetable mixture. Add olives and pour over vermouth. Cover with the lid and roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to roast for 15 minutes, until quails are tender and golden, and sauce has thickened.
3Serve with parsley sprinkled over the top and some crusty bread.
Small game birds and pinot are the perfect partners. Here, quail is centre stage with fresh herbs and green olives in supporting roles while the garlic, shallots and lardons add a bass note. The slurp of vermouth adds extra detail to the dish. Many Central Otago pinots would be too brash and bold for this dish but the Terra Sancta is lithe and fine-boned, with ample red fruits, a swath of slinky tannins and a bright acid-led finish. The recipe’s fresh thyme is echoed by the Central Otago pinot’s hallmark wild thyme bouquet.