Widgeon salad with bramble dressing

Serves 4

Widgeon is a member of the wild duck family. You could also use wild ducks, or any game bird you can get your hands on. Don't ditch the carcasses – as you can use them to make game soup.

2 oven-ready widgeon
A couple of knobs of butter, softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 rashers of streaky bacon, cut into 1cm cubes
100g or so of girolles or other wild mushrooms
60g cob nuts, shelled weight
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
A couple of handfuls of small, flavoursome salad leaves and herbs

For the bramble dressing

6-8 blackberries
1tbsp cider vinegar
4tbsp rapeseed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

First make the dressing: crush the blackberries up in a bowl with a fork, then whisk in the vinegar and oil; season. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, then push through a sieve with the back of a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7, season the widgeon and rub the breasts with butter. Roast for about 15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink; leave to rest. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a dry pan for a few minutes until crisp, then transfer to some kitchen paper. Lightly toast the cob nuts. Melt the rest of the butter in the same pan and gently cook the girolles for 3-4 minutes, seasoning them as they cook.

To serve, remove the breasts from the carcass, cut into 6 or 7 slices and shred any meat from the legs. Arrange the leaves on 4 plates with the widgeon, bacon, cob nuts and girolles; spoon over the dressing.

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