“Hunger is a most impudent appetite. It makes man forget all the proprieties.” ~Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman’s Luck
There is something mysterious about the way a few simple ingredients turn a dish into something magical. Marbella seems to have all the comforts of an intricate meal, without all the inconveniences. Just to taste the myriad of flavors gives me a sense of being domesticated, unlike the “wild” feeling, that often consumes me.
If you ever come to Ellensburg, you must be sure to fish the Yakima river. You can find a whole host of guides and shops to help you on your way. We’ll be there this weekend in search of trout that lie in it’s ice-cold waters and hike through frozen tundra and harsh sage brush for pheasants. The river is not perhaps the most beautiful in Washington, I much prefer the Sol Duc – long and narrow, it lies like a precious emerald of palest green, hidden and guarded by jealous mountains. However, along the Yakima, you can spend a happy day rowing along the shore and then cross over by foot to hunt birds, and return to the local breweries in town for a late pint.
Sir Henry Wotton is accustomed to say that “he would rather live five May months than forty Decembers.” Perhaps because the winter months are harshest for anglers. For those that brave the winter chill in the name of sport, I am certainly convinced a pleasant reward awaits.
Marbella // serves 4
Adapted from the Silver Pallette
1 game bird, quartered, about 2 1/2 pounds (chicken, pheasant, wild grouse)
1 Tablespoon garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green and Kalamata olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine bird quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
Arrange the bird in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly, pour the white wine around the perimeter.
Bake for about 45 minutes, basting frequently with pan juices. Meat is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice. Do not overcook.
With a slotted spoon transfer meat, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Wet with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Serve and enjoy!