Pigeon is a lean, red meat and perfect for carpaccio. Try Nick Weston's woodpigeon carpaccio, from his new book Hunter Gather Cook

Pigeon is far from humble, especially on the plate. It is an excellent, lean red meat and lends itself perfectly to carpaccio. Have a go at Nick Weston’s woodpigeon carpaccio, from his new book Hunter Gather Cook.

Pigeon is lean, sustainable, inexpensive and delicious. It is no surprise that top chefs are championing pigeon and putting it on their diners’ plates, as Ewan Davy discovers in why we should cook pigeon, the chef’s favourite. And for more inspiration, impress with a Michelin-star approved recipe, Michel Roux’s pigeon roti et petit pois a la Française.


Weston’s pigeon carpaccio recipe comes from his new book, Hunter Gather Cook, published in April 2019.

Carpaccio is actually rather a recent taste sensation, having only been with us since the 1950s. The dish was born when one Countess Mocenigo walked into Harry’s Bar in Venice (also the home of the Bellini) and informed the proprietor that her doctor had recommended she eat only raw meat. The dish that Giuseppe Cipriani, the then owner, produced was so named because the colours of the final dish reminded him of the paintings by the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. So now we’ve all learnt a little something, let’s cook – or not, in this case.

Woodpigeon being a lean, red meat is perfect for carpaccio. We’ve found that an overnight soak in some veg and herbs really elevates the final dish and essentially works as a bit of a cure.

Serves 4

  • 6 pigeon breasts (skin off)

For the marinade:

  • 150ml olive oil
  • 50ml cider vinegar
  • 1 small bunch wild garlic or 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • Good twist black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves

Mix all the marinade ingredients together, add the woodpigeon, cover and refrigerate overnight – or for at least 12 hours. Put the breasts in the freezer for 45 minutes before construction so you can slice them wafer thin.

Arrange all the ingredients on a large plate or platter, season to taste and serve with fine red wine and crusty bread.