Are you familiar with squab? Sometimes called the bird of kings, it has a long culinary history in many countries, from China to Morocco, and of course, France. With its delicate red meat and unique flavor, squab is a highly regarded and exquisite ingredient worth bringing into your kitchen. Read on for more about this delicious little bird.
What Does Squab Taste Like?
The simple reason for squab’s universal appeal is its delicate, succulent flesh, truly unlike that of any other bird. Squab is a dark-meat bird, with high levels of myoglobin throughout the body, similar to duck and goose. Squab meat is not nearly as fibrous as those birds, which makes it far more tender. When properly cooked, squab has a lush, rich essence, reminiscent of sautéed foie gras, albeit with more texture.
Considering how delicious squab can be, it’s a shame it isn’t more mainstream. But that wasn’t always the case. As this Popular Science story recounts, squab used to be one of the most popular protein sources in the U.S., only to be supplanted by chicken in the mid-20th century.-Ryan Grim, Food and Wine
Food & Wine wrote a compelling case for squab which is excerpted below … or read the full article here.
5 Squab Tips from Food & Wine
- Break it down. “For a home cook, you could take the breast off the bird and then grill it. Grill the legs, and put a little chili paste on them,” Chef Christoper Kostow said.
- Spice your squab. Kostow suggests throwing some heat on them. “If you want to do something a little spicy, that’s fine. Just grill it, and do a bunch of it.” You could try a spice mix that’s a riff on this Jean-Georges Vongerichten squab recipe—cumin, ginger, curry powder and cinnamon.
- Start on the grill, or a grill pan. “There’s nothing like grilled squab; it’s so good and so easy. If there was a first-time squab user, that’s what I would recommend they do,” Kostow said.
- Beware of overcooking. “Overcooked squab is very rubbery and not great,” Kostow said. “We always tend to cook squab a little on the rarer side.” Ariane Daguin warned me that overcooked squab takes on a turkey-like livery taste. “In France, there are even recipes that say that you have to have the ‘drop of blood at the bone,’” she said. “That means that you have to pierce it with a needle, and when they would see the little bit of blood, raw blood, at the bone level, that’s when it’s cooked.”
- Pair with complementary flavors. “If you want to mimic the flavors of the dish we do, it’s not hard,” he said, referring to the squab in cabbage at Meadowood. “Do a little bit of pickled apple, do a little bit of grilled or cooked-down cabbage, a little bit of browned butter.” Or opt for grapes and bacon, like in this recipe.
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