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Members' Recipes Archive

November 2007
Autumn Salad of Wood Pigeon, Acorn Squash and Field Mushrooms
Andy Lynes

Autumn Salad of Wood Pigeon, Acorn Squash and Field Mushrooms

By: Andy Lynes

Serves: 4

Andy Lynes has written about food, drink, restaurants and travel for a number of publications including the Independent on Sunday, olive magazine, Waitrose Food Illustrated and Food Arts. A Guild of Food Writers member, Andy is a regular contributor to www.BigHospitality.com and the web portal editor of www.foodradio.com. He is the author of Britain’s Finest Restaurants.

This isn’t so much a recipe as a collation of seasonal ingredients that were just begging to be put together on a plate. I’ve borrowed the idea of serving the squash with its roasted seeds from chef Lucy Crabb of The Boot Inn, Fore Street, Calstock in Cornwall. Her recipe for papparadelle with butternut squash, rocket and parmesan which incorporates the toasted squash seeds is a perennial favourite in the Lynes household. It originally appeared in The Gastrodrome Cookbook by Rory Ross published back in 1995 when Lucy was head chef of the Blue Print Café in London.

Ingredients:

2 wood pigeons
knob of butter
olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 acorn squash and seeds
4 large field mushroom
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
4 small handfuls of mache (lamb’s lettuce) salad

For the shallot and thyme dressing
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 dessertspoon red wine vinegar
leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
salt and black pepper
4-5 dessert spoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. Remove the breasts from the wood pigeons (use the carcasses to make stock for another dish) and season well with salt and black pepper. Heat a thin film of olive oil in a sauté pan until just smoking then cook the pigeon, skin side down for 2 minutes. Add a knob of butter and when it foams, spoon over the breasts and cook for a further minute. Turn over the breasts and continue to spoon over the foaming butter until the pigeon is just medium rare, about another minute. Check for doneness by pressing the flesh with your fingers. The meat will feel firm but give to light pressure. Take care not to overcook the pigeon as it will be tough and dry.
2. Cut the squash into quarters and peel. Reserve the seeds. Cut each quarter in half and then into even sized chunks. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 180 C for 20 minutes until brown. Turn the pieces after 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Toss the seeds with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking tray and bake in the oven with the squash until lightly browned – around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they may burn.
3. Clean the mushrooms and slice into quarters. Slice the bacon into lardons. Sauté the mushrooms and bacon together in a little olive oil. Season with pepper and set aside.
4. For the dressing, stir together the first four ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the oil to make an emulsion.
5. In a bowl, mix the mache lettuce with a dessertspoon of the toasted squash seeds and add enough dressing to coat. Divide between four plates, a mound in the centre of each. Combine the warm squash, mushrooms and bacon in a bowl. Add enough of the dressing to just coat the vegetables. Arrange the squash, mushrooms and bacon around the mounds of squash. Slice each breast into five and lay over the mache lettuce. Spoon some of the buttery cooking juices on top and drizzle a little extra dressing around the plate.

© Recipe copyright 2007 Andy Lynes


 

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