- 1 Pigeon
- Sea salt
- 1 -2 Tablespoons of Light Olive Oil ( not Extra Virgin) or Vegetable Oil
- 25g Unsalted Butter
- 1 Sprig of Thyme (optional)
- 1 Clove of Garlic, Skin on, Lightly Bruised.
1) Heat the oven to 180c fan/160
2) The best way to cook pigeon breasts is on the crown. It gives the meat extra flavour and prevents the breast from curling up. Remove the wing tips, legs and front of cavity, reserving those pieces to make a sauce or croquettes.
3) Heat a small oven proof frying pan until smoking and then add the olive oil. Season the pigeon with salt and add to the pan, bottom side down and lower the heat to medium. Colour the bird all over using the sides and base of the pan to get an even golden colour.
4) Add the butter, thyme and garlic clove if using. When the butter will foams up, remove from the heat and spoon quickly and continuously over the bird, including the cavity. The hot butter will turn the skin a deep, golden brown. You may need to return the pan to the heat to get the butter to foam again but make sure it doesn’t burn.
5) Place in the preheated oven for 8 minutes if using a Fine & Wild Anjou Squab Pigeon, as they are large plumb birds. If using another smaller variety, they may only take around 4 minutes.
6) Remove from the oven. The breast should feel firm with a little give and the cavity should not be bloody. Place on cold plate and allow the bird to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. At this point the bird can even be refrigerated until required if you are preparing ahead of of time.
7) When ready to serve, place the crown on a chopping board. Using a sharp boning knife, run the blade carefully along one side of the back bone, as close to the bone as possible to avoid damaging the breast. Running the knife close to the ribs, cut down following the line of the wishbone. If the breasts are too bloody you can return then to a hot pan, flesh side down for 30 seconds to a minute to cook through.
8) If the pigeon is cold, heat a small frying pan over a low heat and add a little oil. Warm the breasts though for a minute or so taking care not to cook them further.
9) Place the breasts on a chopping board and slice in half lengthways on a slight diagonal, or slice into 4 pieces for a salad.