Half a grouse will make a really delicious starter salad, especially with this bramble-infused tangy dressing. On the subject of salad dressings, I have recently created a range of five new British varieties (including blackberry vinegar, honey and mustard; and pickled walnut and rapeseed oil flavours) which are available exclusively at Selfridges Food Hall (selfridges.com), and which are all produced with British regional ingredients.
2 oven-ready grouse
A couple of knobs of butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 rashers of streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
2 small clean parsnips
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
A couple of handfuls of small flavoursome salad leaves and herbs
For the dressing
6-8 blackberries, crushed up with 1tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
2tbsp rapeseed oil
Heat about 8cm of vegetable or corn oil to 180C in a deep-fat fryer or heavy-based saucepan. Top and tail the parsnips, leaving the skin on unless they are very brown. Using a sharp mandolin or vegetable peeler, or even the side of an ordinary grater, slice them as thinly as possible lengthways, rinse well and then pat them dry with a clean tea towel.
Fry the slices in the hot fat, a few at a time, stirring to ensure that they don't stick together. The parsnips will take a while to colour (don't over-colour them) and may appear soft while they are still in the fat. Drain on some kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt and leave them to dry somewhere warm but not hot.
Preheat the oven to 240C/gas mark 8, season the grouse and rub the breasts with butter. Roast for about 15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink then leave to rest. Meanwhile, fry the pieces of bacon in a dry pan for a few minutes until crisp. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing, season then strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
To serve, remove the breasts from the carcass and cut them into 6 or 7 slices. Arrange the leaves on 4 serving plates with the grouse and bacon and spoon over the dressing, then scatter or pile up the parsnip crisps on top.