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Grilled Doves Florentine

doves florentine recipe

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This recipe is a riff off the classic Italian steak Florentine — that’s the giant porterhouse steak, grilled over charcoal and served with really excellent salt, olive oil and a lemon wedge. Nothing more.

Doves are among the most delicious of game birds. They are exclusively seed eaters, so have a rich flavor with no “off” notes the way a wild duck that had been eating fish might have. If you are not a hunter, this recipe works fine with squab or pigeon.

Do your best to buy top-quality olive oil for this recipe: You only need a little, so it needs to stand out. I use a Sicilian olive oil from Frantoi Cutrera Segreto I get from my friend Scott over at The Sausage Debauchery.

This recipe is adjustable; figure on 2-4 doves per person, 1-2 squabs or 1 pigeon.

  • 8 doves, 4 squab or 2 pigeons
  • Fleur de sel or high-quality sea salt
  • Top-quality olive oil
  • 1-2 lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Take your birds out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. Get your grill hot and scrape the grates down well. If you are using a broiler, turn it on and prepare your broiler pan by wrapping some foil on it.
  3. Paint the doves with olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them.
  4. Get a paper towel and some cheap vegetable oil and, using tongs, wipe down your grill grates or the foiled broiler pan.
  5. Grill your doves breast side up, or broil them breast side down, for 3-4 minutes over high heat with the lid closed. Up this to 5-6 minutes for squab or pigeon.
  6. Open the grill lid and turn your doves on their sides. Do the same if you are broiling. Let them sear for 1-2 minutes on each side. Now turn the birds over — breast down on the grill, breast up on the broiler — and cook until the skin is nice and crispy, about 2 minutes.
  7. Take the birds off the heat and arrange them on a platter breast up. Drizzle olive oil over them, squirt them with lemon juice and sprinkle a little more salt over them.
  8. Eat at once with a lusty red wine, like an Italian Chianti, French Cote du Rhone blend, Spanish Rioja or a California Merlot or Syrah.

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