Ed Mazzeo, assistant manager of shotguns for Remington, related this recipe to me over dinner last week. Mazzeo and I were discussing favorite quail recipes (mine was southern-fried and gravy-soaked, naturally) when he offered up this little gem for doves. I didn’t have a pad handy, so caveat emptor as I scribbled it down later, well after I’d dipped into the bourbon. It’s also untested, but Mazzeo is a man of taste–as evidenced by his bow tie, original Hummer, and extensive collection of James Bond-related memorabilia, so I don’t doubt the recipe, only my memory of it. I didn’t ask Mazzeo for his preferred apertif for the dish, but I’m betting he’d have offered up a vesper, Bond’s preferred cocktail order rather than the better-known martini, shaken not stirred.
Port-Glazed Dove Breasts with Golden Raisins
– 8 to 10 dove breasts
– 1/2 cup golden raisins
– 1 cup port
– 1 to 2 Tbsp. canola oil
– Kosher salt, to taste
– 1 cup pearl onions
1. About an hour or so before dinner, place raisins in small bowl and add enough port wine to cover, about 1 cup. Let soak.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Lightly salt the dove breasts. In a heavy cast-iron, or other oven-ready pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, just before the smoking point, add the dove breasts and pearl onions. Sear the breasts on all sides.
4. Add the raisins, along with the remaining port and simmer, scraping up any food from the bottom of the pan.
5. After a minute or two, transfer the pan to the preheated oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, shaking pan halfway through to coat breasts in port glaze.