Caille - Quail. Quail on the Menu in France.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


Quail and their eggs.
Photograph courtesy of Yay Micro.
Farm-raised quail taste slightly sweeter than chicken and when simply roasted you will note that slightly sweeter taste.  N.B. Quail is also more easily flavored than chicken and so often that slightly sweeter taste is lost among the other flavors in the cooking process.

Roast quail for three.
Photograph Yay Micro

A serving of quail, a whole European quail, will most likely weigh in at less than 150 grams (5.30 ounces)  and that’s with the bones; if the quail are smaller you will often be served two.
Quail on the French menu:
Caille à la Stanislas - Quail in the manner prepared for Stanislas, Duke of Bar and Lorraine, France. In the original recipe, the quail was deboned, roasted and then served stuffed with fattened goose liver, foie gras de oie. Caille à la Stanislas is still on some French menus today; however, the amount of fois gras will be greatly reduced from the serving in the original dish. That should not be too surprising, given today's cost of foie gras in France.

Stanislas, before he became a French Duke, was a Polish king who was fired from that job, twice! Unemployed kings do not usually have good job prospects. Nevertheless, Stanislas received the title Duke of Lorraine with a job to go with it from his son-in-law, who was King Louis XV of France. Stanislas also received a chateau outside the city of Nancy in the Lorraine. The chateau was not a small one, and it is still known as the Versailles of the Lorraine. Stanislas's building of three stunning squares in the City of Nancy would make the city world-famous, and the squares are now UN World Heritage sites. Despite Stanislas's great works and (for the times) progressive rule, he is best remembered as the man who gave the name to the dessert Rhum Baba.  Rhum Baba or Rum Baba and other dishes that were first served in Stanislas's chateau.   The Savarin or Savarin au Rhum is based on the Rhum Baba but named after Jeanne Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who lived over 100 years later.

Fig and quail egg salad.
Photograph courtesy of Yay Micro
Caille Rôtie Farcie de Girolles, de Cèpes et de Roquette, Sauce Porto – Quail roasted while stuffed with the girolle chanterelle mushroom,  and cèpes, the French Porcini mushroom,  along with rocket leaves. The dish is served with a port wine sauce.  Despite France having its own Port style wines, both Port and Madeira wines will be in every French kitchen and in many sauces.
Caille Aux Raisins - Quail prepared and served with grapes.
California quail
La Crème de Topinambours en Cappuccino et Son Effilochée de Poitrine de Caille – A frothy cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup served with small pieces of quail breast.
 The use of the word cappuccino in this menu listing refers to the froth on the soup and not to coffee. When the Italians named their coffee creation cappuccino little attention was paid to the froth. Cappuccino coffee received its name from the color of the milky coffee, which is similar to the color of the hood of a Capuchin friar's robes. However, do not let us get confused by the facts.  On today's French menus cappuccino, apart from when the word is actually used for cappuccino coffee, means froth. The word effilochée in this menu listing indicates the way the quail meat has been cut. Your French-English dictionary  will show the translation of effilochée as frayed; however on a French menu effilochée refers to the way  meat is cut and here it indicates the slicing of quail breast into small pieces to serve in the soup.
Salade d'Oeuf de Caille, Pointe d'Asperge et Aiguillette de Canard -  A salad of quails’ eggs, they will be served either fried or boiled, whichever looks better, along with asperge, asparagus spears, and slices of  Magret de Canard, duck breast.
Fig and quail egg salad.
Photograph by Apolonia courtesy of freedigitalphotos
Salade de Cailles Rôties au Vinaigre Balsamique – A salad of roasted quail dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.     
Quail Eggs
The European quail is a little smaller than the American quail. Despite the quail family's connection to pheasants you would not know it to taste one or to look at one. Farms that raise quail also raise these birds for their beautiful eggs; quail eggs are an essential part of quail farming economics.
Quail eggs
Photograph by Phiseksit courtesy of
Quail eggs taste exactly the same as a chicken egg; however, if you were planning to make an omelet the size of a two chicken-egg omelet you will need about 10 quail eggs.
A hen’s egg and a quail egg.
Photograph courtesy of Yay Micro.
During the short hunting season, wild quail are legally hunted in France; if they appear on a restaurant’s menu the term used will be caille sauvage, wild quail. Wild quail are smaller and stronger tasting than the farmed variety, but they are also tougher and so they will be prepared with different recipes to farmed quail.
Wild quail in the bushes.

In the Old Testament, Exodus 16, it is the quail, along with Manna that God sent for the Israelites to eat in the desert. The original recipe served at that time, has been lost in the sands of the Sinai desert. In France, there are many new and recreated recipes for quail.  

Caille - Quail in the languages of France's neighbors:
(Catalan - guatlla, guatla, guàtlera), (Dutch - kwartel), (German - wachtel), (Italian - quaglia comune), (Spanish -  codorniz común).


Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman


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  1. Quail is good, especially if it is caught from the wild. I'm nervous about eating quail that is grain fed on GMO that sold in the US.
    Better to eat quail in France. Europe rejects GMOs.


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