Squab Salad and Couscous ►
Couscous is actually not a grain, but a finely milled pasta made from semolina: it now comes in a quick-cooking form that does not require the traditional steaming. All the elements of this Asian-inspired salad, which is perfect for a summer dinner, are united by the flavor of curry. Harissa is sold in tubes at Middle Eastern groceries and many specialty food stores. It is a paste made from hot chilies flavored with coriander, caraway, garlic, and salt.
- Curry Vinaigrette
- Fresh Lemon Juice - 1/3 to 1/2 cup
- Curry Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
- English Mustard - 1/2 teaspoon, dry
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Ginger - 1/4 teaspoon, ground
- Cilantro - 3 tablespoons, minced, fresh
- Garlic - 1/2 teaspoon, minced
- Peanut Oil - 2/3 cup
- Chicken Stock - 3/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Dried Currants - 1/4 cup
- Quick-Cooking Couscous - 1/2 cup
- Curry Vinaigrette - 3 tablespoons (above)
- Green Onions - 2, finely chopped
- Harissa - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Red Oakleaf Lettuce - 1 small head
- Frisee (Curly Endive) - 1 small head
- Bibb Lettuce - 1 small head
- Squabs - Two 14- to 16-ounce
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Chinese Five-Spice Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons
- Raisins - 1/4 cup
- Curry Vinaigrette (above) - 1/3 cup
- Chutney - 1/4 cup
To make the curry vinaigrette: Place 1/3 cup of the lemon juice in a medium bowl and whisk in all the ingredients except the peanut oil. Add the peanut oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Beat for an additional 30 seconds, taste, and adjust with more lemon juice if desired.
To make the couscous: Bring the stock and butter to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the currants and couscous, stir well, and cover the pan. Let sit until the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 8 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and moisten it with the curry vinaigrette. Add the green onions and harissa, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside; keep warm.
To make the salad: Core the lettuces, rinse, dry, and refrigerate the leaves in plastic bags. Remove the breast halves from the squabs, including the first wing joint. Cut off the thigh-and-leg quarters. Season with salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the squab leg quarters, skin-side down, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the breasts and fry for 2 minutes. Turn the squab pieces and spoon the olive oil out of the pan. Add the butter and cook the breasts for an additional 2 minutes and the leg quarters for an additional 3 minutes, spooning the butter over the pieces as they cook. Remove the pan from the heat and let the squab sit for 10 minutes.
To serve: Put 1/2 cup Curry Vinaigrette in a squeeze bottle. Divide the couscous among four plates, sprinkling the raisins on top. Carve one breast on a slight diagonal for each serving, and fan the slices around the couscous on each plate. Break the lettuce leaves into small pieces and toss with the remaining curry vinaigrette. Divide the lettuces among the plates, standing the leaves upright in the couscous. Use a leg quarter to anchor the lettuce on each plate. Draw a circle around each serving with curry vinaigrette. Garnish each plate with fruit chutney.