Easy to make and full of flavour, this twist on the classic bruschetta provides the perfect introduction to pigeon meat, says Cai ap Bryn. Serves 5-6.
The sun is finally shining. It has been the hottest April that I can remember for a long time. My birthday is usually a great occasion round Easter time, with lots of friends and family surrounding me.
This year, I spent it sitting in front of a webcam and waving. How life has changed. It’s all very surreal. Conditions have been perfect for heading out shooting, yet all I can do is watch pigeons float by the window instead. I thought of this recipe when shooting was plentiful and we were all hoping for a successful season. Now, I’m writing it with the excitement of heading back out when we are all released from our pens.
I have noticed a lot of well-known chefs are taking to social media and sharing their recipes at home using a phone or small camera. It is great to see that people are still inspiring each other behind closed doors. People are donating game to food charities and others within our shooting industry are volunteering for the NHS. It makes you feel truly proud being British.
My local butcher in Bexhill has had a busy few weeks, with people desperately searching for fresh meat and game as the supermarkets are empty or there are huge queues. I hope that this reliance on local independent retailers continues after the lockdown, as it’s people like this who really step up to the mark and provide the community with what they need.
While not many pigeons are being shot, you may still be able to get some that are frozen or shot by farmers for crop protection. If you struggle to get pigeon, you can try this with a small duck or even grouse.
This pigeon bruschetta recipe is a quick gourmet fix. It’s tasty, bursting with flavour and can be prepared in advance. It is very easy to make and a good dish for anyone trying pigeon for the first time. The usual trick is not to overcook your pigeon; a simple 40 to 45 seconds on each side is all it needs, then let it rest for five minutes.
What I like about the bruschetta is that you can either have it as a snack or a canapé, or even make it slightly larger and have it for a lunch. The recipe is for a slightly larger crowd with the diameter around 3in wide, but you can make smaller ones if you so desire.
I was looking for a good wine to go with this and my wine expert friend Georgie Fenn recommended a nice, crisp English wine such as Bacchus from Chapel Down or perhaps a nice viognier, something light and bouncy that will reflect the flavour combination from the bruschetta.
Pigeon bruschetta recipe
- Half a small white onion, finely diced
- 1 sweet pepper, finely diced
- 4 cherry tomatoes, finely diced — I used some lovely orange ones for mine
- 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
- 2 pigeon breasts
- Your favourite loaf or, if
you are lucky — like I was —
a small seeded loaf about 3in in diameter
parmesan cheese (light shavings)
- 6 basil leaves
- Dice all the vegetables and soften in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Once they have gone soft and coloured, place to the side.
- Season the pigeon breasts with salt and pepper.
- Place the pigeon in a searing hot, lightly oiled pan for 45 seconds on each side. Take care not to overcook the meat.
- Set aside the pigeon breasts and let them rest.
- Cut a 3in circle (or square), about half an inch thick, out of a decent piece of your favourite bread until you have six pieces.
- Lightly toast your bruschetta pieces in the pan you used to sear the pigeon. If the pan is dry, add some extra olive oil, but let it get hot first.
- Place the softened vegetables on the bruschetta piece, slice the pigeon breast lengthways into thin strips and place two pieces crossed over on top.
- Season with salt and pepper then cover with a sprinkle of parmesan shavings and touch of chopped basil.
- It really is that easy and this pigeon bruschetta recipe can be made in 10 minutes. Take it to the garden with a glass of wine as you self-isolate and enjoy a little bit of luxury during these very odd times.