The Ortolan is a small extremely delicious European bird weighing less than an ounce. It is part of the bunting family. Its conservation status is
listed as least concern. That means we should get eating!
Because eating a tiny one ounce bird is ridiculous, we humans have found a way to fatten it up and make it even more delicious. It is kept in the dark
for a month( Don't worry, it is a known fact the bunting doesn't believe in ghosts and won't get scared!). This process disorients them and causes
them to eat 24 hours a day. We stuff these little guys so much they triple even quadruple in weight! Nomnom! When the birds have reached almost
bursting point they are then harvested.
One method of killing the birds is drowning them in Armagnac, a very tasty French brandy.
When consumed, sometimes a serviette is used to cover your face. This is YOUR private time so you can munch on your little friend away from your
neighbor and those pesky prying eyes of god.
Here are some classic French recipes for preparing your perfect meal taken from The New Larousse Gastronomique.
In case you were wondering, here is where France is!
Ortolan or garden Bunting.
The small bird enjoys a high reputation as a table delicacy. Ortolans are found in central and southern Europe. They are plentiful in the south of
France especially the Landes region that specializes in fattening them, and also in Spain Italy and Greece.
They can be prepared in anyway suitable for garden warblers and larks.
Gastronomes say that the only way to cook them is to roast them on the oven or on a spit and insist it shouldn't be cooked with anything but its own
Ortolans à la Brissac - cut a desalted hams pope eye (this would be a cut from a fresh ham leg) from the part where the lean merges with the fat into
little squares. Thread the ortolans on thin skewers alternating with pieces of ham. Put them on a spit, back to back. Cook before clear lively fire,
basting continuously with clarified butter.
When nearly cooked, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and do not baste anymore to allow the birds to color well. Take off the skewers, arrange on a dish and
add small croutons of bread to the ham. Peel to small baskets of mushrooms, slice them and sauté them in a glass of Aix oil (olive oil from
Aix-en-Provence, France) until they acquire a golden color. Add sliced truffles and drain off all the oil. Add a piece of concentrated meat jelly
about the size of a walnut, 1 tablespoon Espagno Le Demi-glacé and a dash of lemon juice. Pour in the middle of Ortolans and serve.
Ortolans à la carême - stuff the Ortolans boned through the back, with a little foie gras encrusted with a piece of truffle. Wrap each one in a
piece of muslin and tie with a string at both ends. Plunge them into boiling port and poach for five minutes. Drain and unwrap.
Arrange each in a tartlet case, baked blind and fillies with a salpicon of lambs sweetbreads, truffles and mushrooms, bound with chicken velouté
sauce boiled down with the port and a little cream.
Ortolans in cases á la Royale - Bone the ortolans through the back. Stuff each with a piece of foie gras encrusted with a slice of truffle, seasoned
with spiced salt and sprinkled with Brandy.
Reshape the Ortolans. Brown then quickly in butter. Put each into a frilly paper case or individual ovenproof dishes on 1 tablespoon truffles shredded
into julienne strips. Sprinkle with melted butter and cook in the oven for five or six minutes and serve.
Cold Ortolans - all the methods of preparation given for quail, thrushes, and larks are applicable to Ortolans. Ortolans, however, served hot or cold
should be prepared in the simplest manor and roasted.
Ortolans à la landaise - Arrange the Ortolans in rows in a dripping pan and stand it in a big open fireplace before a great log fire. They cook in
their own melting fat. Salt and spice them with one turn of the pepper mill.
Ortolans à la perigoudine - heat 2 tablespoons butter in a earthenware casserole and put in six trussed Ortolans. Brown them quickly in the sizzling
butter. Cover them with 12 thick slices of truffles. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for about eight minutes,
basting the birds with one generous tablespoon of Armagnac which has been set alight. Serve in the same casserole.
Ortolans à la Provençal - Twenty Ortolans would be enough for an entrée. Cut 24 thick oval-shaped croutons. Hollow out on one side, put one ortolan
on each crouton, then placed in a sauté pan which you have put some fine olive oil, spiced with a pounded 1/2 clove of garlic. He TOL with the
croutons and the Ortolans, then place in the oven.
As soon as the croutons begin to color lightly, remove from the pan from heat, drain them on a cloth to wipe off the oil, and arrange on a dish.
Prepare a truffle Ragoût and Parisian sauce, add to it anchovy butter made from two desalted anchovy fillets, put in 1 tablespoon of cold olive oil
and the juice of 1/2 lemon, Poor this in the middle of the dish containing the Ortolans, and serve.
Orlotans Rotîs - Truss the ortolans and wrap in vine leaves. Pack them in rows, fairly tightly, in a pan moistened with a little salted water. Roast
in a very hot oven for about 5 minutes. Arrange each on a croûton fried
in butter. Serve with lemon halves. Cooked in this way, the birds don't lose their fat, which is greatly enjoyed by gastronomes.
Ortolans on skewers. Brochette d'ortolans - Wrap the trussed ortolans in thin rashers of fat bacon. Thread on skewers, 4 birds to a skewer, separated
from each other by little croûtons, cut to look like cocks' combs and lightly fried in butter. Put the skewers into a roasting pan in which a little
butter has been heated. Cook briskly in a hot oven for about 5 minutes.
Arrange the skewers on a long dish. Garnish with water-cress and quarters of lemon. Pour the pan juices over the birds.
Now that you have the recipes! Go get cooking!!! Remember to fatten your birds for the best results!!!
edit on 25-3-2017 by
TheAlleghenyGentleman because: I love all of gods critters.