Photo from: Jose Viana
L. Melanocorypha calandra, Eng. bunting, calendra lark. The calendra lives in flocks except during mating season. This species of the lark family is characteristic of the Mediterranean. It lives throughout Spain where the habitat is favorable except around the northern border and Galicia. They are particularly abundant around Cuellar, Segovia where Beltran de la Cueva, the Duke of Alburquerque resided in the 15th C for this reason. He was an avid bird hunter. Juan Manuel lists it among common birds in El caballero. It was served with small birds at banquets. [ES: “Calandria” May 15, 1995; and Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:189]
A DISH OF SMALL BIRDS ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION
OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #52 RECETA DEL PLATO DE PÁJAROS, p. 41
For 4 persons
12 calendar larks, weighing between 41-53 grs ea, and/or other small birds
salt to taste
1 c virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
|fried "bird" anyone?|
Photo from: andy_gibbins
½ tsp cumin
¼ c vinegar
1 tbsp murri
¼ cilantro leaves
¼ tsp saffron
1 tsp cinnamon
Remove feathers, chop off the claws, remove the inners and clean the larks. Sprinkle them with salt. Heat oil in a fry pan and add the birds. Fry until golden brown. Set the frying pan with the oil aside for future use.
Put the birds in a pot with pepper, cumin, vinegar, murri and cilantro. Barely cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked. Remove them from the pot and pat dry.
Beat the eggs. Mash the saffron and dissolve it in a little egg. Add that and the cinnamon to the rest of the eggs. Reheat frying pan with oil. Dip the birds in the egg mixture, turning them until completely covered. Fry them until toasty brown.