This is a delicate autumnal starter, perfect for that very special dinner party. Take care not to over-smoke the partridge, the smoking ensures the meat is tender and the smoke is a delicate flavour that underlines the dish. This was part of our first autumn Thyme's Table dinner and is now on the menu at our restaurant The Swan.
- 8 Partridge Breasts
- 5% brine solution i.e. 1l water and 50g salt: heat to dissolve salt and leave to infuse 23 hours
- With aromats – coriander seeds 2 tbsp., peppercorns 1 tbsp., 4 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick
For the smoker (stove-top or metal biscuit tin with lid and rack in bottom):
- 200g long grain rice
- 2 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 crushed cinnamon quill
- 2 tbsp Earl Grey tea
For the dressing:
- 12 sweet black grapes halved & coarsely pounded in a mortar & pestle.
- 1 tbsp lemon juice*
- 1tbsp grape juice*
- 1tbsp olive oil*
- Salt & pepper
*Shake in a jar to combine & mix with the crushed grapes – adjust with lemon juice as necessary.
- Nasturtium flowers & young leaves
- Lambs lettuce leaves
- Purslane leaves
- Small bunch black grapes halved. We used sweet fragrant “Fragda Nera” from the kitchen garden
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander seeds
- Place the partridge breasts in the brine for 1 hour. Remove & pat dry.
- Scatter the smoker mix in the bottom of your smoker/tin & place over a medium flame, when this begins to smoke, cover the lid & lower the heat.
- Place the partridge on the rack in the smoker/tin & cover with lid. Allow to smoke for 3mins then remove.
- Sear the smoked breasts in a hot pan with a little oil and butter for 1-2mins each side. Remove.
- To serve, place 1 halved partridge breast on a plate. Scatter with leaves, flowers, halved grapes & a few coriander seeds.
- Spoon over some dressing & serve.