Now the season is underway, it's time to get grouse on the table. Philippa Davis' warm grouse, plum, blue cheese and walnut salad makes a simple but impressive starter

Salad is certainly manly enough for the shoot day lunch, but if you can’t be convinced it also makes a great supper party starter. Philippa Davis’ warm grouse, plum, blue cheese and walnut salad is simple but impressive. And it would make a delicious first grouse supper of the season.

Grouse deserves effort and attention in the kitchen. Making your own pasta may sound laborious, but our grouse ravioli with grouse broth is certainly worth it.


Serves 2

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 small cooked and peeled beetroots, cut in quarters
  • 2 plums, cut in half and stone removed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp balsamic
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp dry white wine
  • 50g blue cheese
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped walnuts
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 seasoned grouse breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp each of roughly chopped basil, mint and parsley
  • A handful of salad leaves

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Slice the aubergine lengthways, deeply score the flesh and lay in a baking tray. Mix the garlic, thyme and honey together and smear over the aubergines. Then add the beetroots to the same tray. Toss the plums with the cinnamon and balsamic and add to the tray. Drizzle the olive oil over everything (but mostly the aubergines) and season.

Pour the wine into the bottom of the tray, cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes (the aubergines should be soft).

Crumble the blue cheese and walnuts over the aubergines and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the tray juices and add the 2 tbsp of good olive oil (this is now the dressing). Fry the grouse breasts in a pan in the 1 tbsp olive oil for a couple of minutes each side. Rest then slice.

To serve, arrange the cooked vegetables, plums, herbs and leaves onto a plate then pour over the dressing from the tray and top with the sliced grouse.