Winter Recipe: Sussex Reserve and Saltimbocca
Wood Pigeon Saltimbocca
with Nutbourne Sussex Reserve 2018
Wood pigeon is in plentiful supply in the English countryside
– they visit our vineyard in multitudes during the grape ripening season
and some make their way to the Gladwin kitchens.
Our foodie family likes to talk about “what grows together goes together”
and there is no food and wine pairing we can recommend more than
a game bird Saltimbocca with our still white wine blend – Nutbourne Sussex Reserve.
Let’s start with the wine – Sussex Reserve. Remarkably consistent year on year,
we describe it as the taste of Nutbourne, capturing the unique character and power of our terroir.
A ‘field blend’ combining old vine Riesling-style German varietals with Pinot Noir to produce
a crisp dry white wine with tremendous freshness, aromatics and wild fruit flavours.
This recipe was originally developed for our ‘Shed’ restaurant cookbook and it has been
a favourite ever since. Saltimbocca is an ancient Italian dish, traditionally using veal infused with sage
and wrapped in prosciutto. Here we are substituting wood pigeon for the veal,
but it is equally good with the breasts of Partridge, Pheasant, and Grouse.
The dish is pan-fried then finished with pan juices and red grapes
– perhaps the very grapes from the vineyard the wood pigeon were after in the first place!
4 wood pigeon breasts (or 8 if you are greedy)
4 sage leaves
4 thin slices of lemon
4 long slices of Parma ham
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
40g unsalted butter
20ml red wine
1 Tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp honey
1 Tsp French mustard
80gm red grapes, halved and seeded
Small punnet of salad leaves
Place the pigeon breasts on a chopping board and
carefully cut a slot across the middle without cutting into two.
Put a sage leaf and a slice of lemon inside each one.
Then wrap a slice of ham around to form a parcel.
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a moderate heat and melt the butter.
Fry the pigeon breasts for 2–3 minutes on each side.
Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Return the frying pan to a high heat and quickly add
the red wine, balsamic, honey and mustard.
Stir rapidly, let it sizzle and deglaze the pan and then toss in the grapes.
Carve the pigeon breasts into 3 and arrange on the bed of salad leaves.
Spoon over the glaze with the grapes and serve immediately.
Recipe by © Peter Gladwin, chef and cookery writer and owner of Nutbourne Vineyards.
See his most recent book, The New City of London Cookbook,
or the regular Gladwin Brothers column in Spectator Life Magazine.
Nutbourne Sussex Reserve is available in standard and magnum size from our online shop.