Pigeon and Pickled Wild Mushroom Bruschetta with Blackberry Dressing

Serves 4

Full recipe from edition 7

Introduced by Sara Sinagulia, recipe by Giuseppe!

Photographed by Starlight Photography at the Olive Tree Cookery School


Click on any image to get a better view & look out for useful links (in bold, like these ones, above).


Delicious beyond description
















Combining the flavours of the season is what Giuseppe does best. It makes perfect sense that the foraged food around us at anytime of the year marries beautifully together – wild mushrooms with blackberries and freshly picked winter salad leaves from the garden. The Italians like to keep their food simple: fabulous ingredients cooked with the minimum of fuss delivering maximum flavour – and what could be more simple and, it may surprise you, affordable than pigeon breast?



Click to enlarge ingredients

This season’s recipe combines this tender, tasty bird with pickled wild mushrooms and a deliciously sweet blackberry dressing. Yes, Giuseppe has been out with his foraging basket again and in between gathering fungi, leaves and berries for the cookery school, he has put together this quick and easy bruschetta recipe, perfect for a light yet warming winter lunch. If you haven’t got a ready stash of pickled mushrooms in your cupboard, you could add some lightly sauteed fresh ones. Ideally, start filling your cupboard whilst produce is in season – pickle and dry mushrooms, make syrups or cordials with blackberries and elderberries, or chutneys with apples and pears; invest a little time now and have all the flavours of Autumn to carry you through the year. In the meantime, when I can’t find Giuseppe, I guarantee he will be out walking the woods or shoreline in search of simple, delicious ingredients for our next meal! So, if you see a Sicilian, basket on arm, give him a smile or a wave and send him my way!




We recommend The Salt Pig in Wareham, where you’ll find all these ingredients when in season – and much more. Click this to link.


4 pigeon breasts

4 slices of ciabatta bread (1.5cm or half inch thick)

80g pancetta cubes

60g baby salad leaves or rocket

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tip (3inches) of each of the following herbs: rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, sage.

Salt & pepper

4 tbsp pickled wild mushrooms (see recipe at the end)


For the blackberry dressing:

50ml balsamic vinegar

100g blackberries

1tsp of caster sugar

25ml olive oil






Place the bread on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and set to one side.


Season the pigeon breasts with salt and pepper.







Place a frying pan on a medium-heat, add the sunflower oil and once hot, gently place the pigeon in the pan among the herbs, skin-side down. Add seasoning and, just before turning, sprinkle the pancetta.





Sear for 3 minutes until the flesh becomes a nice, rich colour, then turn over and cook for further 3 minutes. Turn off and leave to rest for few more minutes before slicing.






In the meantime, prepare the blackberry dressing



Mix the balsamic vinegar, sugar and blackberries in a small saucepan on a medium heat.

Cook for 3/5 minutes, pass through a sieve then add the olive oil.


And then…

Place the drizzled bread under a preheated grill and toast on one side only until golden brown in colour.









… assemble the dish: bruschetta first, then top with salad, layer the sliced pigeon breast over the leaves, scatter the rest of the pancetta and pickled wild mushrooms and, finally, drizzle blackberry dressing appealingly.


Pickled Wild Mushrooms in Olive Oil





500g fresh mushrooms

Olive oil

1 fresh chilli pepper (optional)


For the Brine

500ml white wine vinegar

300ml water

1tbsp salt

2 bay leaves

2 cloves

2 peppercorns

1 tip of rosemary

1 tip of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

1tbsp caster sugar







Clean the mushrooms then slice or cut according to size.



Place all the brine ingredients in a large, non-corrosive pan and bring to the boil. Add the mushrooms all at once or in batches, boil, allowing 5 minutes for large mushrooms 3 minutes for smaller ones.



Drain and, without using your hands as the mushrooms are now sterilized, spread over a very clean cloth to cool and dry.

Put a few mushrooms into a sterilised jar, pour oil to cover and mix gently so that the oil coats the mushrooms completely. Add more mushrooms and oil in this way until the jar is full. If you wish, add a few chili peppers, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and rosemary for extra flavour.

Close the lid tightly; best kept for at least a month before opening and for up to a year thereafter. Should mould-spots appear, simply rinse then boil the mushrooms again before re-jarring with fresh oil.


The lovely folk at Olive Tree Cookery School are Sara and Giuseppe Sinaguglia – click on this to visit their site or find them at www.olivetreecookeryschool.co.uk

Don’t forget our friends at The Salt Pig!