Spanish Dove Salad
By Hank Shaw
This is something of a pantry dish that comes together very rapidly if you have the ingredients on hand. The hardest part of putting this together is the garlic: I use my own preserved garlic, and if you have some use it — it makes the dish. But it is time-consuming to make, so if you don’t have any on hand, I recommend roasting a head of garlic instead. It’s not the same, but it will get you close.
Everything else in this recipe is easily available at supermarkets. Everything, that is, except the dove. Obviously pigeon or store-bought squab are good substitutes, but if I had to recommend another, more accessible meat to sub in, I’d have to say quail breasts. Quail will get you closest in terms of size and texture, although the flavor will be different. Skinless duck would work, too, although you’d need to cut it smaller.
Poached Dove with Roasted Peppers
- 3 cups dove stock, duck stock or beef broth
- Breast meat from 12 to 16 doves
- 1/4 cup high-quality olive oil
- 3 to 4 preserved roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- 3 green onions, sliced thin (white parts only)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 12 to 16 cloves preserved garlic, or 1 head garlic, roasted 25 minutes
- Parsley, salt and black pepper to tast
Bring the stock or broth to a simmer. Drop the dove breasts into the broth and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let this sit for 5 to 15 minutes. The longer the dove breasts sit in the hot broth, the more cooked they will be, but they should not overcook no matter how long you keep them there. When they are cooked to your liking, remove the dove breasts and toss them with some olive oil in a bowl. (If you happen to have a sous vide machine, salt the dove breasts well, then put them in one layer in a vacuum bag with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter or duck fat. Cook at 135°F for 30 minutes or so.)
If you are not using preserved garlic, roast your garlic as per Elise’s instructions. When the garlic is done, carefully remove the cloves. This is persnickety, but you can also just smear them out and use the roasted garlic as a sort of puree at the bottom of everyone’s plate. It may look messier, but it still tastes good.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat, tossing them frequently to toast all sides. Pay attention to them as they toast because pine nuts go from nicely toasted to burnt in seconds. When they have some pretty browned spots on them. move the pine nuts to a bowl to cool.
To compose the salad, divvy up all the ingredients between four plates and drizzle a little of the olive oil from the dove bowl over everything. Garnish with some parsley and grind black pepper over the plates. Serve at room temperature with some Spanish sherry, a rosé or white wine or a crisp lager or pilsner beer.