1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon finely crushed saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne and white pepper
Dash Tabasco
12 quail
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Madeira
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
24 two-inch toast rounds
1/4 cup finely minced garlic chives

Thoroughly mix the mayonnaise, saffron, lemon juice, cayenne, white pepper, and Tabasco. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Remove breasts from quail, and pound slightly to yield 24 boneless filets. In large sautè pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over moderate heat. Lightly sautè 12 breasts about 1 minute on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm. Deglaze pan with about 4 tablespoons Madeira. When sauce thickens, pour over reserved breasts. Season with salt, black pepper, and pinch of Herbes de Provence. Repeat process for remaining breasts.

Spread saffron mayonnaise on toast rounds. Place quail breasts on rounds, and sprinkle with chives. Serve warm.

Serves 12 (two pieces each).

Note: Leftover quail parts may be reserved for game stock or gumbo.

From “The Pleasure of Their Companies,” originally featured in Domain, Winter 1988