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The Caterer

Pigeon Salad with pickled vegetables by Tom Aikens

23 May 2007
Pigeon Salad with pickled vegetables by Tom Aikens

Ingredients
(Serves four)

12 baby turnips
2 carrots
150g each of oyster, girolle and enoki mushrooms
2 x 500g squab or wood pigeons
1tsp butter
4 handfuls mixed salad leaves

For the pickling liquor
400ml water
200ml olive oil
200ml white wine vinegar
100g sugar
2 sprigs thyme

For the dressing
2 egg yolks
Chives, chopped

Method

Cut turnips and carrots lengthways, using a mandolin and leaving any green tops on.

Put all the pickling liquor ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes. Add carrots to the liquor and simmer for two minutes, then remove and reserve. Repeat the process with the turnips, and then again with each type of mushroom. Put vegetables in the fridge while the liquor is cooling.

When liquor is cold, pour it over the vegetables and leave to chill for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Remove the wings from the pigeons and discard. Season the birds. Put a little butter and oil into a sauté pan and colour the birds on all sides in this. Put in oven and roast for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes.

While the birds are roasting, make the dressing. Strain the vegetables and keep the pickling liquor. Skim liquor, retaining as much of its oil as you can. Whisk 100ml of the liquor with the egg yolks. Take oil from the pickling liquor and add extra olive oil as necessary to make a volume of 350ml. Slowly blend this into the egg yolks. If mixture is too thick, add more pickling liquor. It should be the consistency of cream. Add some chopped chives to the dressing.

Arrange pickled vegetables on the plate. Sprinkle a little dressing over the pickled vegetables. Carve the legs and breasts from the pigeons, then slice each breast widthways. Lay one leg and breast on each plate. Put a little more dressing over the salad leaves, then scatter them over the pigeon and drizzle some more dressing over the whole dish.

by Tom Aikens, michelin-starred chef-proprietor of Tom Aikens, Chelsea, London.

Other recipes from Tom Aikens

Braised oxtail with cèpes, salsify and beef marrowbone by Tom Aikens>>News about Tom Aikens

Tom Aikens confirms plans for a ‘posh' Chelsea chippy>>

Tom Aikens to design desserts for Wembley>>

Related Weblinks

Tom Aikens website>>

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