Squab Salmi

The word salmi is an abbreviation of salmagondis, the name of an old French dish that, according to the eighteenth-century Dictionnaire de Trevoux, was essentially a game stew. A salmi differs from many poultry recipes in that it is not about the contrast between crisp skin and tender, moist flesh. Instead, partially roasted rich, dark meat cooks further in a sauce. A salmi may be unprepossessing to look at, but looks can be deceiving, as it is delicious. Here, no part of the squab is wasted; the liver is cooked and with Cognac and butter, then spread on warm toast and the salmi is served on top.–The Gourmet Cookbook

LC Salmi, Not Salami Note

Don’t know about you, but we did a double take the first time we saw the recipe title. Ah. Salmi, not salami.

Squab Salmi Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 2 H
  • 4 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6


  • Four (14- to 16-ounce) squabs, rinsed and patted dry, giblets (including livers) reserved
  • For the stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 carrot, quartered
  • 1/2 celery rib, quartered
  • 1/2 onion, unpeeled
  • 6 cups cold water
  • For the roasted squabs and sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound small (1-inch) mushrooms, trimmed and halved (4 cups)
  • For the toasts
  • Six 1/2-inch-thick slices brioche
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cognac or other brandy
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. Using kitchen shears, cut off necks and wing tips from squabs and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cut out backbones and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cut 1 squab into 2-inch pieces. Refrigerate remaining 3 squabs, loosely covered, while you make stock.
  • Make the stock
  • 2. Reserve livers, refrigerated, for toasts. Pat squab pieces and remaining giblets dry. Heat butter in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add squab pieces and giblets, carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 15 minutes.
  • 3. Add water and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until stock is reduced by about half, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  • 4. Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a paper towel into a bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids.
  • Make the squabs
  • 5. Bring squabs to room temperature. Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • 6. Pat squabs dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Arrange in a small roasting pan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and pour over squabs. Roast squabs for 30 minutes (they will not be fully cooked).
  • 7. While squabs roast, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add carrot, celery, onion, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 8. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they have released their liquid, 5 to 8 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 9. Purée thickened sauce in 2 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution). Transfer to a 3-quart heatproof bowl and add mushrooms.
  • 10. Halve squabs lengthwise and add to sauce. Set bowl over a 6-quart pot half filled with simmering water (water should not touch bowl) and cook squabs in sauce, uncovered, turning occasionally, until tender, about 25 minutes (flesh will be rosy).
  • Make the toasts
  • 11. Cut rounds from brioche slices with cookie cutter; discard crusts. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over moderate heat. Add squab livers and cook, turning once or twice, just until browned but still pink inside, about 2 minutes. Transfer livers to a small bowl, add Cognac and 1 tablespoon butter, and mash with a fork until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 12. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch skillet over moderately low heat, add brioche rounds, and toast, turning once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 13. Spread liver purée on toasts.
  • 14. Serve squabs on warm toasts and spoon sauce over.

Make ahead stock note

  • The stock can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered. The toasts, without the liver, can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 5 minutes before assembling.
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