The most delicately flavored of all game birds, quail needs very little embellishment. You can use game hens in place of the quail, if you prefer. This company-worthy recipe is inspired by Chef Mark Monette of The Flagstaff House in Boulder, Colorado, who regularly features game on his menu.
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/4 cup white cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 (4-ounce) semiboneless quail
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
4 lemon wedges
Fresh parsley sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Bring milk and half-and-half to a simmer over medium-high heat in a small, heavy saucepan. Gradually add 1/4 cup cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes or until polenta is thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Keep warm.
Place the quail, breast side down, on a cutting surface. Cut the quail in half lengthwise along backbone, cutting to, but not through, other side. Sprinkle the quail with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and minced parsley. Place the quail on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 6 minutes on each side or until done. Discard skin. Serve the quail with polenta and lemon wedges. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.