Squab was a relatively common item on fine-dining menus 10 years ago, but it has since fallen out of favor.
Executive chef Brian Roche is hoping to rehabilitate it with this dish, which he developed for a recent dinner he cooked at the James Beard House in New York City.
“I loved the way it came out,” Roche said. It is now part of the menu for Lolita’s monthly $65, four-course tequila dinner.
Roche seasons the squab — a term for a nestling pigeon, aged four weeks or less — with salt and pepper. He sears it on both sides and finishes cooking it in the oven.
He brushes it with slightly reduced agave nectar and then sprinkles it with spiced candied pistachios, made by rolling the nuts in simple syrup cooked to an amber color and seasoned with cayenne pepper.
“They should look like Frosted Flakes [cereal],” Roche said.
For the vinaigrette, he reduces a stock made out of chicken and roasted squab bones almost to the consistency of a glaze. He strains it, adds an equal volume of tangerine juice, reduces it further and finishes it with sherry, minced shallots, cilantro, black pepper, and some rendered chicken fat or clarified foie gras fat.
The dish is garnished with mixed micro greens.