As a teenager I dabbled with being vegetarian, I then made life a little easier for myself by eating fish and chicken – being gluten-free can be challenging enough and cutting out other food groups by choice, perhaps made my life a little harder than it really needed to be – particularly on the social side of things. I actually think your body has a good sense of what it really needs. It was in a rather fancy restaurant in LA with my then boyfriend (he’s now my husband) that on scooting through the menu to see what I could eat (without having to make too many adjustments for my dietary requirements) my eyes fell on steak – a big juicy 28 day aged sirloin. When the waiter arrived to take our orders even before I could think about the words coming out, I had ordered this large juicy steak, with a salad and sweet potato wedges – to say my boyfriend’s jaw hit the floor was an under statement! I still remember that meal and can honestly say my body thanked me. Since then I have gradually introduced all sorts of meat cuts alongside fish, seafood and poultry and of course I still eat a lot of vegetables, a little fruit, nuts, seeds, and home-made low GI cakes & treats and of course dark chocolate – and I believe that it is with this variety I have seen the most improvement in my general health and wellbeing not to mention my skin and hair. This was my personal journey but I understand it is individual for everyone.
I have found that ordering good quality meat direct from a farm and knowing and understanding their farming practices really gives you peace of mind that you are getting a quality product. Also that the animals are treated humanely. From a cost perspective it often works out cheaper to order this way, than from buying individual cuts at the supermarket.
This super simple little salad I created goes along this theme of broadening the palate. So bearing in mind the above paragraph I am not suggesting you head off to Trafalgar Square and pick up a pigeon from there… So I thought I would try some pigeon also known as flying steak – as it does indeed taste like a cross between a good steak (and duck I think!) Super nutritious crispy Kale and a few sweet plums makes this a real showstopper of a salad.
4 wild pigeon breasts, seasoned with himalayan salt and black pepper
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 onion roughly chopped
4 ripe plums sliced into bite sized pieces
1-2 200g bags of Kale, (if not pre-washed, rinse, salad spin & pat dry with kitchen paper, you want it to be as dry as possible)
2-3 tsp light olive oil
good pinch of himalayan salt
pinch of hot smoked paprika (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 100C,
Serves 2 or 4 if having as a starter.
1) Dehydrated Kale is really trendy right now and for good reason it tastes so darn good, not to mention it’s a crazy, super-power, vit hit! You can buy a special dehydrator but for those on a budget or without the kitchen space, it is easy enough to do in the oven! I have said 1-2 bags of Kale – it really depends on how hungry you are, also it does tend to shrink when you dehydrate it; so I would say 1 bag is fine for a light salad for 2, but you might want to add a bag if doing a starter for 4 or you just want a larger salad for 2. Spread the kale out onto two baking sheets (you might need more if using extra bag) put a teaspoon or so of light olive oil on your hands and kind of massage the kale with it, really just a light coating – do the same with the other baking sheet of kale. Sprinkle with himalayan salt and if you like a little heat add the hot smoked paprika too. Put into the preheated oven and turn the oven temp down to about 65C – bake or rather dehydrate the kale for 50-60 minutes until evenly crispy. You will achieve this by tossing the kale every 10-15 minutes to get an even crispness. My oven is fan assisted, but it might depend on your oven settings to achieve the crisp level you want – with more or less time. I can literally eat a whole bag of crispy kale it tastes so good! 40 minutes into this process you can move on to stage 2!
2) At the 40min mark, while the kale is still doing its crispy ‘thang, heat 1/2 of the coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until it is transparent about 2 minutes, then add the sliced plums and cook until they have a little colour approx 2 minutes. Put the onion and plum mixture in a bowl to one side.
3) Then add the last bit of coconut oil to the pan, turn the heat up, you want it your pigeon breasts to sizzle when they hit the pan – cook these medium rare so they are a little pink in the middle (however if you prefer, cook a bit more – but too much and they might get a bit tough). They should get a good golden browning on each side, I found it took about 2-3 minutes each side to achieve this. Once cooked to your liking, put them to one side to rest.
In this pic you can see I sliced it quite thick, but I ended up slicing it thinner before adding to the Kale. My husband likes it this rare – but you can cook to order and plate up separately.
4) While the pigeon is resting add the onion and plum mixture back to the pan to warm through and soak up the meat juices.
5) Finally get the Kale out the oven and add to a large bowl. Slice the pigeon breast into bite sized slivers and add back to the onion and plum pan to get a good coating. Finally toss the whole lot together in the large “kale” bowl.
Inspired to try something different?