The 5 Best Ingredients for Cooking Doves

After what's been a downright miserable summer, it's finally hunting season. Well, almost. Sept. 1 marks the dove opener for much of the country, and I suspect a lot of you will find yourself with a sore shoulder come Saturday night. Hopefully you and your friends will also have a pile of doves to enjoy. This year, I challenge you to go beyond the classic (and admittedly delicious) bacon-wrapped dove breast. To help you do so, here is a list of five key ingredients to expand your repertoire.

Seasoned Flour: Whisk a cup or so of flour with salt, pepper, and your choices of dried herbs and spices. A good, smoky paprika is a nice choice, as is something spicier like cayenne or red pepper. As for dried herbs, sage, oregano and thyme are all good.

Wine: After browning plucked birds in olive oil or bacon fat, use a good white wine to deglaze the pan for a quick, easy sauce. Or mix wine with an equal amount of game or chicken stock for a braising liquid.

Buttermilk: If you're thinking about frying doves, take an hour, or better yet several, to marinate them in buttermilk before they go into the oil. The resulting rich flavor is worth the wait.

Teriyaki Sauce: Doves are an excellent foil for Asian flavors. Grill dove breasts quickly over a hot fire, basting with teriyaki sauce. Serve over steamed rice.

Cream of Mushroom Soup: Just kidding.