To make the vanilla salt we take 8 ounces of fleur de sel and one Tahitian vanilla bean. We cut the bean in half and scrape out the seeds. We combine the vanilla seeds, the salt and the bean in a bowl and mix together to disperse the seeds. We then put the vanilla salt in a ziploc bag for several days to let the flavors infuse. The vanilla bean itself stays with the salt as it will continue to perfume the salt.
Now the squab:
1 large turnip
Zest from one orange
One Tablespoon of minced ginger
One cup of rootbeer
1/2 cup vermouth
1/4cup soy sauce
12 nasturtium leaves.
Remove the breasts from one squab. Remove the skin and season with vanilla salt, then wrap in plastic wrap to seal the salt next to the squab. Chop up the carcass of the squab and saute in a small medium pan. When the bones are brown, deglaze with a 1/2 of a cup of vermouth. Cook the vermouth down until it is reduced by half. Add a quarter cup of soy sauce and a tablespoon of minced ginger and the zest from one orange. Add one cup of rootbeer and one cup of water and cook together at a light simmer for 45 minutes. Skim any foam or fat that comes to the surface. Strain the broth and reserve.
Peel one large turnip and cut it into a large dice. Discard any irregular pieces of turnip. Take the cooled squab broth and use it to cover the turnips in a pot. Bring the turnips to a simmer and cook until just tender. Strain the turnips out of the broth and reserve. Strain the broth again and cook down to a light syrup consistency. In a 200 degree oven, place the squab breasts on a rack still covered in plastic wrap. Cook for 20 minutes for a medium rare squab. While the squab is cooking, reheat the turnips in a saute pan with a small nob of butter. Sprinkle with sweet and salty hazelnuts. Take the squab out of the oven, let rest for five minutes, unwrap and slice each breast in half lengthwise. Lay the squab on a plate and place the turnips between the two halves. Sprinkle a bit more vanilla salt on the squab and pour the sauce around . Place nasturtium leaves on the squab and turnips.
Sweet and Salty Hazelnuts
1 cup peeled hazelnuts
1/2 cup sugar
Cook the hazelnuts and the sugar together in a pan over a medium heat. The sugar will caramelize and the nuts will toast. When the sugar and nuts are amber in color and look sandy, season with vanilla salt and then spread out on a sheet of aluminum foil brushed with olive oil. When the nuts are cool, break up into small chunks.