Pigeon has a wonderful liverish flavour best appreciated when it's served rare. It goes well with a sharply dressed salad with a little bacon thrown in for good measure. Some pigeons are sold with the offal still inside, so we've included the liver in this recipe, but if your butcher has removed it just omit that step.
- 4 squab pigeons (about 500gm each), brought to room temperature (see note)
- 60 gm melted butter
- 80 gm mild pancetta, cut into lardons
- 40 gm (¼ cup) pine nuts
- ½ Savoy cabbage
- 2 golden shallots
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp aged red wine vinegar
- 40 gm (½ cup) shaved parmesan
- To serve: flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1Preheat oven to 200C. Remove head, claws and any remaining offal (reserving the liver) from pigeons. Rinse inside and out, and pat pigeons dry all over with absorbent paper, then brush with half the melted butter, place in a small roasting pan, season to taste and roast until golden and cooked to your liking (20-22 minutes for medium to medium-rare). Remove from oven and rest (5 minutes).
- 2Heat remaining butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook pancetta and pine nuts until golden (5 minutes). Add pigeon liver, if you have it, and fry until just cooked (1-2 minutes).
- 3Shave cabbage into a bowl using a mandolin, then do the same with the shallots. Add pancetta and pine nut mixture, olive oil and vinegar, season to taste and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter, then scatter with parmesan and parsley.
- 4Cut the breasts and legs from the pigeons and serve with the bacon, cabbage and pine nut salad.
Drink Suggestion: Savoury Barolo or Australian nebbiolo. Drink suggestion by Max Allen
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