Poached dove and pear salad


For more food-related blogs from Georgia Pellegrini, check out her website www.GeorgiaPellegini.com.

Even if you are a below average shot, you can manage enough dove breasts for this delicious starter, which is cool and light, but with a hint of fall, like Labor Day or an Indian Summer. It is perfect for this time of year, when temperatures can still be hot, and the rich, heavy game recipes aren't quite suitable yet.

While in Arkansas, I discovered a glut of dainty pears on the side of the road. Little bulbous jewels scattered on the ground and some still dangling from the tree. And since I was still covered in dust from the morning hunt, it seemed fitting that they should go into the meal as one more ingredient I gathered from the wild on the way to the dinner table.

Brandy and Vermouth round these sweet and gamey flavors out -- the vermouth is subtle and rich and the brandy, which you light on fire, gives it all a caramel finish.

The blue cheese adds the salty tang and the mint ensures that it is fresh and not too cloying. There wasn't a speck left in the bowl after my fellow hunters sat down to dinner.

Give this one a try sometime. It requires a few more ingredients than the Doves in Beer Batter, but the flavors are worth it.

Do you have a favorite dove recipe? Tell us about it by submitting it to The Kitchen.

Poached Dove and Pear Salad with Brandy Sauce

10-15 dove breasts, peeled from the breast bone
2 cups pears, ripe, peeled cored, and quartered
1 cup vermouth
½ cup brandy
1 tablespoon mint, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
Pepper, to taste

1. Place the dove and pears in a wide sauce pan or sauté pan. Pour in vermouth and poach at a low simmer for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

2. Add the brandy, light it with a match and let the alcohol burn off.

3. With a slotted spoon, remove the pears and dove from the liquid and transfer to a bowl. Reduce the remaining liquid by half and pour it into the bowl.

4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

5. Before serving, add the mint and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Serves 4, as an appetizer

Editor's note: Georgia's passion for good food began at an early age, on a boulder by the side of a creek as she caught her trout for breakfast. After Wellesley and Harvard -- and a brief stint on Wall Street -- she decided to leave the cubicle world behind and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Upon graduating at the top of her class, she worked in two of America's best restaurants, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, as well as in one of the premier destination restaurants in Provence, France, La Chassagnette. It was there that she decided it was time to really get at the heart of where our food comes from and head to the source -- Mother Nature. She bought a shotgun and set her sites on the cutting edge of culinary creativity intent on pushing the boundaries of American gastronomy, from field to stream to table.

Her new book, "Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition" is available wherever books are sold. She currently roams the world, hunting, tasting good food and meeting the good people who make it. You can read more about her work at www.GeorgiaPellegrini.com.