Makes 16 canapés
8 slices Parma ham
6 large black plums, cut into wedges (you should get about 8 per plum)
Handful fresh sage leaves
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed sea salt flakes
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
Knob or two unsalted butter
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C (350˚F)
To prepare quails, using a sharp knife cut away legs from quail and place into a bowl. Cut along each side of the backbone to remove breast from bird keeping skin on. Repeat with all quails. Discard excess quail or retain and use to make a stock (optional).
Place salt flakes and ground pepper into a small container or jar and shake to combine. Scatter onto a dinner plate.
Add a little olive oil into the palms of your hands and rub over the quail breast skin and quail legs. Lay quail breasts, skin side down onto salt/pepper combo on the plate and gently press down to coat skin. Add remaining salt/pepper into bowl containing the quail legs and toss to coat.
Heat a tablespoon olive oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry quail breasts - again skin side down, for a minute or two until golden brown. Repeat with quail legs but toss in the pan until fully cooked - adding an extra knob or two of butter if you wish.
Lay each slice of Parma ham on a clean surface and slice down the center length-ways to from two pieces per slice. To wrap each piece; place one ham strip facing vertically away from you, add a quail beast to the start of the ham slice, top with 1 sage leaf and a piece of plum (I used about 2 plums in total for this stage leaving 4 for the sauce) then roll all together, secure with a cocktail stick or wooden pick (Note* - soak the wooden picks in water for an hour or so before using to avoid them burning in the oven). Repeat with all quail breasts and place in a large baking tray. Roast in the hot, pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until quail is cooked through.
While the quail is cooking you can make the dipping sauce. To do so place the remaining plum quarters into a saucepan along with the wine and brown sugar and bring to a boil before simmering until thick (about 15-20 mins) before adding into a blender jug and whizzing to a smooth sauce. Return to the saucepan, add a knob of butter (this will make the sauce glossy), season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve hot as an accompanying dipping sauce for the quail.