Pigeon is one of the lesser known and more underrated of the game birds. It has a stronger flavour than mallard duck but not as strong as grouse, and it's a lot more affordable than both. This simple appetiser was one of the quickest and easiest things I could think to do with them: simply sear the breasts in a hot pan, slice them and serve on toast. Melt some parsley-loaded butter in the hot pan and pour over.
Seared Wood Pigeon and Garlic Toast Recipe
- 2 wood pigeon breasts, skinless
- 2 small slices good quality bread
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
- 20 g butter
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- vegetable oil, for cooking
Ensure the pigeon breasts are out of the fridge ahead of time to come up to room temperature. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and wait for it to get hot (depending on the thickness of your pan this should take at least 2 minutes). Add a drizzle of oil. Season the pigeon breasts on both sides with a little salt and pepper, then add to the hot oil. Press the breasts gently to stop them from curling up and ensure they are flat on the surface of the pan. Cook for 30 seconds on each side, then set aside on a rack to rest. This will give you quite a rare cooking of the meat, which I prefer. If you'd like the meat medium, cook for 1 minute on each side, or longer for well done.
Cut the slices of bread in two and toast until golden. Meanwhile, add the parsley, garlic and butter to the pan you cooked the pigeon in and cook for around 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic.
When the pigeon has rested for 5 minutes, cut into approximately 5 mm slices and arrange on top of the toast. Pour over the garlic butter, and serve.