I Heart Cooking Clubs would be way too much for me to keep up with. And it is true that I'm developing fewer of my own recipes, or just randomly cooking, while participating in the Diana Henry-themed events. At the same time, I am enjoying it!
This week's theme is a particularly fun one - "Mystery Box Madness". We had to choose a recipe from Diana Henry or one of the past IHCC chefs featuring any three of harissa, eggs, saffron, pumpkin, maple syrup, dates, rose water, oranges, spinach, and chickpeas. My Eat Your Books membership definitely came into play for this one!
Diana Henry's spiced quail with blood orange and date salad qualified, as it features harissa, dates and oranges. Unless I am at Merchants Tavern, I don't particularly care for quail, so I substituted duck breasts. I slashed the skin and fat, and sat them in the spicy marinade, leaving the skin clear of it. Then I seared them skin side down to render out some of the fat and get the skin nicely coloured before returning them to the marinade bath to bake in the oven.
Apparently blood oranges aren't in season yet, so I used normal navel oranges. I didn't add any orange juice to the dressing, but I squeezed out the membranes left after cutting out the orange segments, which made plenty of juice.
To accompany it I made a warm version of a mushroom and butterbean salad that my family has been enjoying for at least 30 years. Paul claims it was the first time I'd ever made it for him... which can't be true.
This was a fantastic dish. Warmly spicy, sweet and tangy. One to make again.