Sticky Pheasant and Frazzled Pancetta Salad with Pistachios and Seville Orange Dressing

January was made for this sublime, easy starter. Peppery leaves and the tart orange dressing partner the sticky honey- and ginger-marinated pheasant perfectly. Use chicken breasts if you prefer, but it won’t have quite the same depth of flavour.

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 6 minutes to 8 minutes
  • Total time: 21 minutes to 23 minutes 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Dressing
  • 3 tbsp walnut oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ Seville orange, juice and zest
  • ½ tbsp clear honey
  • 4 pheasant or chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp set honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
  • Salad
  • 100g pancetta, very thinly sliced
  • 3 heads chicory
  • 2 tbsp pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped

Method

  1. Cut the pheasant breasts into bite-sized pieces. Mix the ginger, honey, garlic and thyme together and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the pheasant and leave to marinate for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the pheasant pieces for 3–4 minutes, until just cooked.
  3. Grill the pancetta until crisp, or lay the slices out on a large plate and microwave on full power for 3–4 minutes. Break into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Separate the chicory leaves and toss in the dressing until they are lightly coated; arrange on four small plates. Scatter over the sticky pheasant pieces, the pancetta and the pistachios. Drizzle over a little extra dressing, add a good grinding of black pepper and serve at once.