Peppered Parmegan Dove Breast
Recipe by Bill Chappell
Many have a negative view of dove. Years ago, we had a “wild bird” dinner for about 50 people. We had pheasant, quail, dove, turkey, chukar, grouse and duck. An informal survey after dinner revealed the doves cooked this way (which were served as an appetizer) were the favorite.
- Dove breasts that are fresh or that had the freshness preserved by freezing, etc
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt (sea salt if available)
- Black Pepper – coarse grind
- Red Pepper – fine grind. I like to use cayenne or a “hot” pepper.
I have also used a white pepper, green chile powder, red chile powder, etc. all will work, subject to your taste. The black pepper is for the taste, the red pepper is for the “spice.”
Step 1. Prepare the doves by removing the breast meat from the bone. After doing this, you
should have two small boneless dove breasts from each bird. Examine the meat to assure that
there is no shot remaining in the meat.
Step 2. Place the boneless breast meat in a strong salt brine, using the sea salt, if it is available.
(Other salt will work) Place the salt brine and the dove breasts in the refrigerator for about 24
hours. This time can be shorter if necessary, but 24 hours allows the salt brine to lighten the dark
meat color and remove any excess blood.
Step 3. Remove the dove meat from the brine and rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt.
Soaking it in fresh water for an hour or so works well.
Step 4. The parmesan cheese is best if you can obtain the finely ground version that is quiet
“dry.” In the US, this is readily available. If that form is not available, grind the parmesan as
finely as practical and dry it (spread out on a sheet of paper or other surface, etc) and allow it to
dry out. After drying crumble it to get so as to get the “grind” as fine as possible. Large grind
will not cover or coat the breasts as well. The dryer the cheese, the better it will “stick” to the
meat before cooking.
Step 5. Mix the ground dry parmesan, with the black and red pepper, until you reach the taste
level that you like. Some like the black pepper taste and the “hot” of the red pepper stronger than
others. If the doves are going to be used as an appetizer rather than as the main course, it can
generally be more “spicy.” Other seasoning can be mixed in, but pepper is my choice. Lemon
pepper is sometimes a good ingredient. I do not like sage or garlic salt in this mixture, but it can
be refined to your taste. You do not need additional salt. The volume of this mixture needed will
depend upon how many doves are being cooked.
Step 6. Remove the dove breasts from the water rinse and drain or dry the excess water. The
breasts will need to be moist, but not wet, for the parmesan and pepper to evenly coat the meat.
Step 7. Place the parmesan and the pepper mixture in a paper sack or other container. Place a few
of the breasts in the sack and shake them so the parmesan and pepper “coats” the meat, just as
would be done if the breasts were going to be “chicken fried.”
Step 8. Once the breasts have been coated with the parmesan and pepper mix, they should be
cooked on a hot grill or in a hot oven (perhaps broiler). Don’t cook them in a “pan” which
collects the juice that cooks out. The goal of the cooking is to cause the parmesan to form a light
“crust.” When the crust forms, the doves are ready. When used as appetizers, a tooth pick in
each piece works well.
About Bill Chappell
Bill Chappell is an old friend of Eduardo Martinez and El Cortijo’s family, Bill was the first hunter from the United States that came to Córdoba 10 years ago to hunt doves with SYC Sporting, of course he repeated the experience a lot of times. Bill is a great dove hunter and, as can be seen, an excellent cook too!
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