For me, this recipe is magical. Squabs, or baby pigeons, poached in a spiced broth, come out velvety in texture, juicy, and flavorful. They are then dried and fried until the skin turns golden and crisp, contrasting with the pink, juicy, interior flesh. Squab flesh should always be served red. If you prefer it medium, simmer a little longer, but please be careful not to overcook.
This dish was inspired by one in Australian chef Greg Malouf's book Moorish, and the chef's touch of rubbing a coriander-based salt into the birds just before the last minute of frying is brilliant. In my adaptation, I poach the squab in an aromatic liquid using typical Egyptian seasonings: cinnamon, cardamom, mastic, and saffron.
Prepare Steps 1 through 3 a day in advance. You will need two thermometers—one for the poaching liquid, the other to monitor the cooking of the flesh.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.