Pheasant is a delicious eating wild game bird with a flavor strong enough to be interesting and distinctive but not strong enough to be in any way overpowering. Like any type of wild game bird, it is very lean, high in protein and low in fat but the downside of this feature is that it requires great care when it is cooked if it is not to dry out and become tough. An excellent way of ensuring it is served to perfection every time is to pan fry it very simply in a little oil. The fruity and spicy salsa served with the pheasant in this instance complemented the flavor perfectly but it would be possible to eliminate the salsa altogether in favor of a simple, perhaps fruity, sauce.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 1 medium to large baking potato
- 1 pineapple ring (canned in own juice, not syrup)
- 2 slices from half a peeled medium sized red onion
- 1 medium strength red chili
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 skinless pheasant breast fillet
- All purpose (plain) flour for dusting pheasant breast
- 4 ounce drum of goats' cheese
- Generous pinch of dried thyme
- Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
Wash the potato thoroughly and if necessary cut away any eyes or blemishes on the skin but leave it otherwise unpeeled. Take a thin slice off each long end with a very sharp knife then cut it in three equal thickness slices along its length. Steep these slices for about ten to fifteen minutes minimum in cold water to get rid of the excess starch before adding them to a pot of fresh, salted water. Bring this water to a simmer for about fifteen minutes until the potato slices are just cooked but still firm. Lift them from the water to a plate with a slotted spoon and allow them to steam off for ten minutes before transferring them to a suitable dish and refrigerating them uncovered in a single layer for a minimum half hour.
While the potato slices are simmering, you can use some of the time to prepare the pineapple salsa. The further in advance the salsa is prepared, the greater the time the flavors will have to infuse, so it would even be possible to prepare it the night before where this is an option and store it in the fridge. Moderately finely dice the onion slices and pineapple ring and add them to a mixing bowl. Top and seed the chili before dicing in a similar way and adding to the bowl. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the bowl with a small hand grater. Season with salt, pepper and the chopped cilantro before pouring in the extra virgin olive oil and stirring well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the potato slices to fry for an anticipated four to five minutes on each side.
Scatter a couple of tablespoons of all purpose flour on a plate. Season the pheasant breast on both sides with salt and pepper before patting it also on both sides in the flour. Give it a very gentle shake over the plate to remove any excess flour.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil in to a second non-stick frying pan and put the pan on to a low to medium heat. Lay the pheasant breast fillet gently in the heated pan and fry for three to four minutes on each side, depending upon its size. Do be very careful not to over cook it or it will dry out and become tough, rendering it quite unpleasant to eat..
Goats' cheese is a very soft cheese so you will find it easier to slice if you attempt to do so when you have taken it straight from the fridge. Remove any paper wrapping or other packaging, sit the drum on its side on a chopping board and slice in to three discs of equal thickness.
When the pheasant breast is cooked, lift the pan to a cool part of your stove to let the meat rest for a few minutes while you complete the preparation of the potato and goats' cheese accompaniments.
The potato slices should be turned to fry on their second sides when they are just crisp and golden on the first. You may need to check them a couple of times by lifting them slightly with a spatula to know when you have achieved this desired effect.
A couple of minutes before the potato slices are due to come out of the pan, lay a goats' cheese disc on top of each one and scatter with a little bit of dried thyme. A little bit of black pepper can also be added if desired but no salt is required.
Lift the pheasant breast to a chopping board and slice across the way with a very sharp knife. Ideally, the meat should be just that ever so little bit pink in the center.
Use a spatula to lift the potato and goats' cheese slices one at a time to your serving plate. Lift a portion of pheasant breast on to the top of each one and finish by spooning on a little bit of the pineapple salsa with a teaspoon. The dish should then be served immediately.