This pigeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing is a wonderful starter or could even make for a light main course when you aren't in need of comfort food. Try Andrew Pern's recipe


This pigeon and blue cheese salad is delightfully pretty on the plate. Of course if your presentation skills aren’t up to it then a more rustic thrown together approach will work just as well. Pigeon is a great staple when the game season has finished and is delightful to eat as the weather gets warmer. This salad pairs blue cheese and apple with pigeon. A vibrant and fresh salad, given an extra zing by the homemade greengage gin.

For more pigeon recipe inspiration, try our pigeon pate or woodpigeon sausage rolls, perfect for picnics.


This pigeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing uses Yorkshire Blue, a soft blue cheese made locally to us by Judy Bell’s Shepherd’s Purse at Newsham, near Thirsk, and the combination with the cobnuts and russet apples gives a Waldorfesque feeling to the dish.

As a little tipple, we add a spritzer made from our home-made greengage gin and a little soda water served in a shot glass, on ice. It’s very light and very nice with the pigeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing.

Serves 4

For the salad

  • 5g (1⁄4oz) caster sugar
  • 10g (1⁄2fl oz) white wine vinegar
  • 5g (1⁄4oz) grain mustard
  • 50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 russet apples
  • 50g (2oz) cobnuts (or hazelnuts), shelled
  • 100g (31⁄2oz) mixed leaves and herbs
  • 150g (5oz) Yorkshire Blue cheese, crumbled
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 woodpigeon breasts

For the greengage gin

  • 6 greengages
  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 50ml (2fl oz) gin
  • 200ml (7fl oz) soda water

To garnish

  • Fresh herbs or flowers
  • Extra wedge of cheese, if you wish

For the greengage gin, first poach the greengages in 200ml (7fl oz) water and the sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce by half. Leave to cool and infuse, then pass them through a strainer and add the gin. When you’re ready to serve, top up with soda water to the required strength.

To make the dressing, mix the sugar and white wine vinegar until the sugar dissolves. Add a little mustard and the olive oil, then whisk to emulsify. Peel and chop the russet apples into small dice and add to the dressing immediately. Heat the cobnuts in the oven and keep warm.

Just before serving the pigeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing, mix the salad leaves, herbs and Yorkshire Blue cheese in a bowl. Add the cobnuts to the dressing, then add the dressing to the bowl and combine it with the leaves and the cheese.

Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Season the pigeon breasts and fry for about a minute per side, turning them to colour on all sides. Once cooked, set them aside and keep them warm.

To serve the piegeon and blue cheese salad with russet dressing, put a handful of the salad into a small serving bowl or on a small plate. Slice the pigeon breast and arrange it on top. Garnish with a wedge of cheese and a few herbs. Add the soda water to the greengage gin to make the spritzer and serve it with the salad.