‘This recipe from Mark Hix’s wonderful British Seasonal Food can make a brace of grouse stretch to four for a special occasion, and works equally well with any game bird you can get your hands on, making it an elegant, exciting starter to give to friends that won’t break the bank. Artfully scatter the toasts with some fresh greenery (farmer’s markets are brilliant at stocking exotic leaves with a bit of bite), and even a few edible petals from the garden, if you like, and you’ll have rather a spectacular dish’

Thomasina Miers

Grouse on toast with dandelion

Extract from Mark Hix’s
British Seasonal Food
Published by Quadrille

If you’re a grouse lover, this little starter is a good way to make the deliciously rich meat go just that little bit further. You can, of course, serve other game, like wild duck, teal, widgeon or snipe, in this way. If the grouse giblets have been removed, buy 120g chicken or duck livers.

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients

2 oven-ready grouse, livers reserved
A few knobs of butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
4 slices of white or brown bread, cut 1cm thick, from a small bloomer loaf
Handful of dandelion leaves or small other salad leaves, washed

For the dressing

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons walnut oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 220˚C/gas mark 7. Clean the livers, cut them into even-sized pieces and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat a good knob of butter in a frying pan and briefly fry the shallots and garlic for a minute or so without colouring. Season the livers and add them to the pan. Fry over
a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring every so often. Stir in the sherry, then remove the pan from the heat.

Rub the breasts of the grouse with butter, season with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink. Meanwhile, for the dressing, whisk the sherry vinegar and walnut oil together and season to taste.

Chop the liver mixture by hand or in a food processor, as finely or coarsely as you wish, tasting and seasoning again if necessary. Toast the bread on both sides, then spread with the liver mixture.

Remove the breasts from the grouse, slice them and arrange on top of the liver toasts.

Shred any leg meat from the birds and mix with the dandelion leaves and dressing. Season and arrange on plates, placing the warm liver toasts in the centre. Serve at once.

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** Image from Vi Huang taken at the St John