It is high summer, and it is hot, hot, hot. Most of the country right now is suffering from triple-digit heat, and no one wants to be in the kitchen. Thus, this cooling summertime salad that relies on a very gentle poaching method that makes the pheasant (or yes, chicken, if you are not a hunter) breast perfectly tender without allowing it to dry out. A touch of fennel makes things even cooler. Enjoy! ~Hank
Pheasant Salad with Fennel
- 2 pheasant or chicken breasts
- 1 quart pheasant or chicken broth
- 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fennel pollen (optional)
- 2 tablespoons green fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 small hot chile, such as a cayenne, sliced thin
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Bring the broth to a simmer in a lidded pot. Turn the heat off and drop the pheasant breasts in. Make sure they are submerged. Cover the pot.
- Meanwhile, chop the fennel bulb into pieces you’d want to eat. I like them about the size of my thumbnail. Add all the remaining ingredients and set aside.
- The pheasant breasts should be fully cooked in 20 minutes. Turkey and chicken breasts are larger and will take longer. A turkey breast might require a full 45 minutes in the warm broth. (Save the broth for soup or something else. It will keep in the fridge a week or so.) When the pheasant is cool enough to handle, shred it into pieces with your hands. I like the texture and appearance of shredded meat, but if this skeeves you out I suppose you can chop it.
- Mix everything together and let this sit, covered, at room temperature for an hour or so before eating. You can also store it overnight in the fridge.