Olive Magazine

Salad of wood pigeon with soft poached eggs and damsons

Published: August 24, 2016 at 9:37 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • A little effort
  • Serves 4

This salad of wood pigeon with soft poached eggs and damsons comes from Trinity in Clapham Old Town. If you can't get hold of fresh damsons, you can use plums, just cut them in half when poaching


Make this wood pigeon salad with damsons, then check out our damson jam, sloe gin and more autumn recipes.


  • 50g (optional) pancetta lardons
  • for frying olive oil
  • 4 (with skin) wood pigeon breasts
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 2 slices Bread, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 20g golden caster sugar
  • 100g damsons, stoned
  • a large handful (frisée salad leaves, endive and oak leaf is a great mix)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 red apple, cored and finely sliced


  • STEP 1

    Fry the pancetta (if using) with a little drizzle of oil until golden and crisp, then scoop out and drain on kitchen paper. Heat a heavy based pan to fry the pigeon, and put a deep pan of water onto boil for the poached eggs. Fry the breasts in a drizzle of oil for two minutes on each side colouring gently until the skin is crisp. Remove from the pan and allow to rest.

  • STEP 2

    In the same frying pan, add the onion and fry for 15-20 minutes until really soft, golden and caramelised. Remove the onion and set them aside with the pigeon.

  • STEP 3

    Add the butter to the same pan and allow to foam. Add the bread cubes and cook until golden and crisp, then remove them and allow to cool.

  • STEP 4

    Put the balsamic vinegar in a small pan and reduce by half, until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat and whisk in a little olive oil to make a dressing.

  • STEP 5

    Put 200ml water and the sugar in a pan along with the damsons. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until the fruit is lightly poached. Scoop the damsons out and add to the balsamic dressing, along with 1 tbsp of the fruit’s poaching liquid.

  • STEP 6

    Add the salad leaves to a bowl with the caramelised onions and toss gently. To poach the eggs, add the white wine vinegar to the pan of rapidly boiling water and gently lower in the cracked eggs one at a time. Poach for 3 minutes until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. Drain on kitchen paper and repeat until all of the eggs are poached.

  • STEP 7

    To serve, arrange the salad leaves and onions on a large platter or four plates, put the sliced pigeon breasts, poached eggs, pancetta (if using), finely sliced apple and croutons on top and drizzle the dressing around the outside, along with the damsons.

    Cook's notes

    If you’re poaching eggs head of time, cook until just set then plunge them into iced water until you’re ready to serve. When you’re ready to plate up, reheat the eggs all together in simmering water for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Drain on kitchen paper then add to the plates.


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