Originally made with veal, this versatile recipe lends itself readily to pheasant and makes for a perfect supper dish, says Rose Prince. Serves two.
I ate a version of this pheasant supper recipe not long before Christmas last year, in what seemed like a brief outbreak of unlocked freedom. The venue was the Fox Inn at Corscombe, Dorset, a pub that has recently been taken over by the chef Mark Hix. He was born in Dorset, yet for many years has used his talents in a number of acclaimed restaurants in London. He returned to open the Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis, throwing himself back into Dorset coastal life. In 2012, he founded Food Rocks, a food festival that generates cash for local charities. He is a friend of mine, and I loved working at the festival — a perfect model of organised chaos.
His restaurant empire fell into administration in spring last year but, as a chef I truly admire, seeing him open a place to eat and drink was very cheering. He is pragmatic enough to realise that he knew some of the best times in London hospitality, and the charms of the Fox Inn are typically his style. In the third lockdown, he, like everyone else in the sector, will be severely tested yet again. Roll on April. Being away from the coast, Corscombe is not Hix’s natural habitat. Right in the middle of prime shooting and hunting country, on the day we ate there mud-splattered riders were loading their tired hunters into horseboxes outside.
Inside the pub, the menu is appropriately meaty — pheasant Holstein being one tempting item. The dish has its origin in Germany, named after the diplomat Baron Friedrich von Holstein. The authentic recipe is made with a veal cutlet, hammered until thin, but pheasant or free-range chicken works perfectly. The character of the dish comes from the punchy flavours of many good things: the meat, the anchovies, a rich fried egg, capers. However, German food experts say you do not need to stop there. Crayfish tails, caviar, smoked river fish or fungi belong on a plate à la Holstein, should you wish. I was perfectly happy with the Hix version — it is as perfect a pheasant supper recipe as it is a resplendent breakfast.
Pheasant Holstein – a perfect pheasant supper recipe
- 2 skinless pheasant breast fillets
- 6 tbsp plain flour
- fine salt and ground black pepper
- 2 eggs, for coating
- 8-10 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- 6 tbsp
- sunflower oil, for frying
- 2 tbsp capers, drained
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 2 eggs, to serve
- duck fat, for frying
- handful of rocket leaves
- Place each pheasant breast fillet between two sheets of baking parchment. Using a meat hammer (flat side) or a rolling pin, pound the fillets to flatten them to half their thickness — they will expand in width as you do so, like escalopes. It is important to keep the hammer/rolling pin horizontal to the worktop so that the meat has an even thickness.
- Put the flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Crack the eggs into a second dish and beat well with a tiny pinch of salt. Put the panko breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.
- Dip each pheasant escalope in the flour, coating on both sides and shaking afterwards to dust off any excess. Next, dip them in the egg, making sure they are well coated on all sides. Finally, coat with the breadcrumbs, pressing the meat into the crumbs so that they stick on well.
- Get ready two warmed plates. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until it sizzles when tested with a pinch of breadcrumbs. Lower the pheasant fillets into the oil and fry for three minutes on each side until golden. You do not want to fry over too high a heat — they need to be light gold.
- In a separate pan, fry two eggs in the duck fat, adding the capers at the end. To serve the pheasant Holstein, place two anchovy fillets and the capers on the fried escalope, then place the egg on top. Add some rocket leaves and serve immediately.