This is a simple, satisfying way to get into some doves. Doves are so easy to pluck that you should really be ashamed of yourself if you don’t — I can pluck one in less than a minute when I get my groove on. Besides, gnawing on the little legs is primal and slightly naughty; they are very little birds, after all.
Spanish smoked paprika is integral to this dish. Many good supermarkets offer it, but you can also buy it online from Earthy Delights.
Figure on 2-3 doves per person for a light lunch or an appetizer, or 3-5 for a main course. I can eat more than this, but then again I am something of a glutton. I will give you a recipe for 4 people.
- 12 doves
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 bay leaves
- 12 sage leaves
- Spanish smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper
- About 1/4 cup melted bacon fat
- Rub the doves with olive oil and salt them well. Stuff each cavity with a sage and a bay leaf.
- Grill over medium-high to high heat with the breast side up for 6-8 minutes. Do not let them char!
- Turn them over and grill for 4-6 minutes. Paint them with the bacon fat.
- Turn the doves on their sides and grill for 1-2 minutes — for each side. Paint with more bacon fat.
- Remove to a platter and paint with the remaining bacon fat. Dust with the smoked paprika and the black pepper. Let them rest for 5 minutes.
- Eat with your fingers and serve with a Rioja red wine, a California Pinot Noir or an Italian Barbaresco — and a bowl to put the bones in.