Cherry Glaze Quail with Grilled Radicchio & Grains of Paradise

Cherries signal that summer is officially in full swing! I try to use cherries as much as possible before cherry season ends. One way of preserving cherries is to turn them into a glaze. The traditional method of glazing cherries is called a gastrique, which is a sweet and sour sauce.

I’ve been a sucker for bitter greens ever since I was kid, everything from chicory and escarole to radicchio. My grandmother used to fold bitter greens into our salads. She would sit at the table and cut the greens in her hand, because that’s what all Sicilian grandmothers do. They use their hands to tear things very rustically. We would sit around that table and just talk about the day, gossip about the family. It’s ingrained in my mind.

I love balancing bitter greens with sweet things, so that’s what we’re going to do with the cherry glaze today. Grains of paradise are like a black pepper that imparts a citrus note. They go great with grilled game birds like quail.

Day 1: Making Cherry Glaze & Brining the Quail

Cherry Glaze

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes | Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes

This cherry glaze is so good, it’s going to perform double duty as both a glaze for the meat and a dressing for the radicchio.


  • 1 quart cherries
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • Splash of water

Farm2ChefsTable Tip: It’s important to have everything measured before you start this very fast recipe because you’re dealing with caramelizing sugar, which can burn quickly.

Step by Step

  1. With the back of your knife, smash the cherries to remove the pits, then set aside
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a medium sauce pot over medium heat
  3. Begin to slowly caramelize the sugar, being careful not to stir the pot too vigorously or the sugar will crystalize into sugar crystals and you will have to start over
  4. Once the sugar is caramelized, immediately add the balsamic vinegar and cherries
  5. Lower the heat and simmer until it reaches a syrup consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes
  6. Next, transfer the mixture to a blender and process into a fine glaze
  7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week

Brine Quail

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Brine Time: 1 hour | Drying Time: Overnight

Quail is a small bird, so it really only needs to brine for an hour. We’re doing this the day before grilling. That gives enough time for the skin to dry out, which allows the cherry glaze to lacquer the quail properly. Since quail is a lean bird and pretty small, the chance of drying it out too much is very likely. But no fear, the brine we’re using today will keep your quail nice and juicy. This brine recipe is enough for at least four quails or more. You can even set some aside for brining other birds such as duck or chicken.


  • 4 semi-boneless quails, Farm2ChefsTable recommends Quattro’s Farm
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 oz. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 bulb fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 6 oz. fresh ginger, smashed

Step by Step

  1. Add the water, salt, sugar, black peppercorns, garlic and ginger to a large sauce pot that can accommodate 10 cups of liquid
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and give it a whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar
  4. Once the sugar and salt dissolve, cut the heat and let the brine cool completely
  5. Next, add your quail to the brine
  6. Brine the quail for 1 hour
  7. After that, remove it from the brine and pat dry
  8. Lay the quails on a large plate atop a paper towel, without overlapping the meat
  9. Pop it in the refrigerator overnight to dry out the skin
  10. On to the next day, grill time!

Day 2: Grill the Quail and Radicchio & Assemble the Dish

Grill the Quail

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Tempering Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes | Rest Time: 10 minutes

There are a lot of theories on when to add glaze or sauce to meat before grilling it. Since quail is small and will cook in just 10 to 15 minutes, we’ll go ahead and add the glaze before grilling. This ensures the glaze caramelizes the quail nicely. We will also baste the quail with the cherry glaze as it cooks to get that deep color we’re looking for.


  • Brined quail, dried overnight (recipe above)
  • Cherry glaze (recipe above)

Step by Step

  1. Bring the brined quail to room temperature for 30 minutes
  2. Lightly lather the quail with cherry glaze using a brush
  3. Meanwhile, start your coals or grill. We’re looking for 400F degrees. To gauge 400F degrees with charcoal or lump charcoal is simple. Once your coals are ashed over and glowing red, place them into a pyramid pile on the grill bed. Place your hand 10 inches away from the coals. If the heat is unbearable after 4 seconds, then your grill is at medium-high heat, or 400F degrees. This takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Now you’re ready to grill your quail.
  4. Lay the quail breast side down, legs facing the heat since they’ll need more time to cook
  5. Cook the quail for 2 minutes on the breast side, then flip over and baste it with the glaze
  6. After 2 more minutes, flip the quail again
  7. Glaze it again and cook for 2 more minutes
  8. Flip the quail again, repeat the glazing process, and cook for another 2 minutes
  9. Flip the quail for the final time and glaze again
  10. Transfer the quail from the grill to a large plate
  11. Lather the quail with glaze and let rest for 10 minutes before serving
  12. To carve, simply cut the legs from the body, then cut the breast straight down the back in half
  13. Be sure to scrape up all the board juices as they are really tasty

Grilling the Radicchio

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes


  • 1 medium head of radicchio
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon cherry glaze (recipe above)
  • Salt, to taste

Step by Step

  • Cut the radicchio head into quarters, keeping the core intact so it won’t fall apart on the grill
  • In a large bowl, toss the radicchio with olive oil and balsamic. The balsamic will caramelize on the grill and impart a nice sweetness to offset the bitter radicchio.
  • Start your coals or grill. We’re looking for 400F degrees. To gauge 400F degrees with charcoal or lump charcoal is simple. Once your coals are ashed over and glowing red, place them into a pyramid pile on the grill bed. Place your hand 10 inches away from the coals. If the heat is unbearable after 4 seconds, then your grill is at medium-high heat, or 400F degrees. This takes 25 to 30 minutes. Now you’re ready to grill the radicchio.
  • Place the radicchio on the grill, flesh side down
  • Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until both sides are nicely caramelized, for a total of 10 to 15 minutes
  • After your radicchio is done cooking, remove it from the grill and let it cool until it can be safely handled
  • Remove the radicchio core and break up the leaves
  • Lightly dress the radicchio with cherry glaze
  • Set the glazed radicchio aside until you’re ready to plate

Assembling the Dish

Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • Grilled quail (instructions above)
  • Grilled radicchio (instructions above)
  • 1 tablespoon cherry glaze (recipe above)
  • 2 teaspoons grains of paradise, roughly cracked in a mortal and pestle, Farm2ChefsTable recommends sourcing grains of paradise from SOS Chefs, a local spice merchant,
  • 16 fresh cherries, pitted

Step by Step

  1. On a large platter, lay the carved quail all around
  2. Scatter the grilled radicchio leaves over top of the quail, leaving space for the quail to peak through the radicchio
  3. Spoon the cherry glaze all over the platter, quail and radicchio
  4. Sprinkle grains of paradise on top
  5. Finish by adding some fresh cherries all over the platter
  6. Enjoy with your friends and family.