The market is small but perfectly formed. A well stocked fish stall (well, it was at 11am), a veg stall, meat and a game seller. There was also a coffee van and a bread stall where I picked up a lovely olive ciabatta, and the obligatory stall selling marinated olives. What more could you want? Actually, I was a bit upset that the veg stall didn't have any new season asparagus, one of the only reasons why I'd bothered to get my backside out of bed so early, but disappointment was quickly blown away by the wood pigeon breasts I'd spotted. Initially I hopped from back to forth - diced venison? - wood pigeon? - wild rabbit? But £5.25 for 8 breasts proved too much of a bargain for me and I snapped them up.
I've only had wood pigeon once before, at Christmas. As I remembered, it was best cooked to rare, and it's lightly gamey flavour might work well with something fruity.
So here's what I came up with. The onion and sherry sauce was great - slightly tart, a hint of sweetness from the sherry and the onions, but with an underlying savoury tone. It turns into a sticky, unctuous jam down to the slow cooking and accompanied the pigeon well.
Wood Pigeon Breast with Sherry & Onion Sauce
2 wood pigeon breasts
1 onion, silced into half rings finely
A good glug of sherry - maybe about 4 tbsp
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
In a non-stick pan, fry the onions very slowly (i.e. on a very low heat) until soft and slightly caramelised. This takes roughly 15 - 20 minutes. Add the sherry and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the pomegranate molasses and turn down low. Add a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, heat up another non stick frying pan until quite hot. Oil the pigeon breasts and add to the pan. Sear for about a minute on each side, season with salt and pepper and then leave to rest under the foil for at least 10 minutes. To serve, slice the pigeon breasts diagonally against the grain and spoon the onion and sherry sauce over it. I served it with new potatoes boiled, then fried in oil and thyme with some purple sprouting broccoli, simply steamed.