Warm pheasant salad with tardivo, pickled cherries and toasted hazelnuts

Warm pheasant salad with tardivo, pickled cherries and toasted hazelnuts

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

This is a lovely autumn salad. Warm, torn pheasant is delicious served with the first bittersweet leaves of the year, new season’s nut oil, pickled cherries and finely sliced fennel or celery to give a clean, watery crunch.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 pheasant, about 1.2 kg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
25ml olive oil
1 tardivo or radicchio
or a small bunch rocket and pissenlit
1 fennel bulb
1 pomegranate
1 1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
few drops lemon juice
small handful chervil leaves, finely chopped

Dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon pickling liquor, (from the cherries)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
60ml hazelnut oil
30ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
12 see method for ingredients
20 hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped, (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut off the tips of the pheasant wings, using a sharp knife. Season the bird generously all over. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan over a low heat and pan-fry the pheasant, turning until golden brown all over.
  2. Lay the bird on one side in a shallow roasting pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn onto the other side and roast for a further 10 minutes. Now turn the bird breast side down and roast for a final 10 minutes or until cooked. To check, pull a leg away from the breast and look for any sign of rawness; also make sure that the juices run clear. Set aside to rest, breast side down, for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, for the salad, separate the tardivo leaves, wash and gently pat dry, then place in a bowl. Remove the outer fibrous layer from the fennel, halve the bulb lengthways, then slice into very fine shards. Add to the leaves. Cut the pomegranate in half, then hold, cut side down, over a bowl and tap to release the seeds, picking out any bits of membrane that fall into the bowl. Scatter over the leaves.
  4. For the dressing, whisk the pickling liquor, mustard, sherry vinegar and a pinch each of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oils, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You should have a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy vinaigrette.
  5. While still warm, tear the pheasant flesh from the bones and place in a bowl. Toss with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, a little salt and pepper, and the chervil.
  6. Now add the warm pheasant to the salad leaves and drizzle over a little of the dressing. Toss together lightly, using your fingertips, and arrange on serving plates. Scatter over the pickled cherries and toasted hazelnuts if using, drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and serve at once.
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