Balsamic-Glazed Squab, Crushed Clementine And Grits Recipe

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Leave it to a renowned chef to take an obscure little bird and prepare it for the masses. Such is the case with Tyler Florence's Balsamic-Glazed Squab, from Fresh, his new cookbook we're working our way through. Source yourself some game bird (sub in Cornish hens if you can't find squab or quail) and get cooking!

If you've never prepared small birds before, keep in mind there's not a lot of meat on them (but what meat they have is delicious!). Pump up the volume of the other elements on the plate — for instance, crushing whole clementines for a vibrant, fresh raw sauce — and watch your dinner guests' jaws drop in anticipation.

Reprinted with permission from Tyler Florence: Fresh

Balsamic-Glazed Squab, Crushed Clementine And Grits Recipe
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  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 6 clementines
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 whole semi-boneless squabs (10 to 12 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 16 fresh sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup pitted green olives
  1. Set a large saucepan over high heat and add the cream and 2½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then add the grits and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. When the grits are smooth, creamy, and fragrant, remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir to incorporate and melt. Keep warm.
  3. Roughly chop the clementines (skin and all).
  4. Use a mortar and pestle to gently crush them together with the sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper until they are a pulpy mass. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a sharp knife, remove the legs from each bird. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Then cut each breast away from the carcass. You should have 6 pieces (2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 boneless breast portions) from each bird.
  6. Set a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the walnuts and sage leaves and fry, tossing often, for 3 to 4 minutes, until crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Coat the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season the squab portions all over with salt and pepper. Place the pieces skin-side down in the pan and sear until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Turn the pieces over, transfer the pan to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer the roasted squab to a platter to rest, and reheat the sauté pan on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  10. Deglaze with the balsamic and 2 tablespoons of water. Simmer to reduce the sauce by half, then remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add the honey, lemon juice, and cold butter cubes.
  11. Swirl to incorporate the butter and give the sauce a nice richness and sheen. Return the squab pieces to the pan over low heat and baste with the sauce.
  12. Serve the squab with the grits, and garnish with the crushed clementines, green olives, toasted walnuts, and crispy sage.
  13. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
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