Squab has been eaten for centuries, dating back to Ancient Rome and Egypt, and continues to be popular in the Middle East, Asia and throughout Europe. A squab is simply a pigeon that has not yet flown. Its meat is tenderer, and thus more versatile for cooking, than that of an adult pigeon, considered suitable only for braising or baking in a pie.
D'Artagnan squab are richly flavored and silky in texture, with a plump and meaty breast, where the largest amount of meat is found. The dark red meat is known for its singular ability to retain moisture during cooking, in part because a thin layer of fat in the skin renders out during cooking, protecting it.
Our squab is produced by a cooperative of small farms in California’s beautiful Central Valley, where the pigeons are raised naturally, breeding and rearing their young in nest boxes placed in open barns. A mix of high-protein grains including soy, sorghum and corn are fed to the young birds by their parents. The fledgling squabs have never flown and are raised until four weeks of age. No hormones or antibiotics are ever administered.
The rich meat of squab is easy to prepare in a variety of ways, and is best enjoyed when cooked rare to medium rare. The semi-boneless squab is perfectly suited to the grill and the sauté, or roasting pan. Try roasting squab with porcini and foie gras, or Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for salt-cured squab with a fresh salad and bacon wrapped plums.
"Chef Mario Batali loves cooking chicken “under the brick", a technique in which food is weighed down with a hot terra-cotta stone. This method ensures more even and quick cooking, juicy meat and crispy skin."
"Chef Nate Auchter couples tender squab with hearty black barley, an ancient grain from Ethiopia, and adds a luxurious side dish of puréed and whole sautéed morels. "
"A crunchy, bright lentil and sprout salad accompanies pureed lentils and semi-boneless quail quick sautéed in duck fat with foie gras."
"Squab are stuffed with a mixture of cornbread, pumpkin seeds and sausage, then slathered with a rich mole sauce. The sweetness in the sauce is complemented by the dark meat of the bird."
"Chef Ron Gallo, of the Jean-Georges Vogerichten family of restaurants, simply pan roasts his squab and serves it with a crisped corn cake and a sweet and tart blueberry gastrique. His roast squab recipe involves classic French technique and eclectic flavor inspirations. "