2 Persons as starter
For the carrot pickle
- 2 carrots
- 3 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 star anise
- 200g (7oz) sugar
- 250ml (9fl oz) white-wine vinegar
- 250ml (9fl oz) fresh orange juice
- 250ml (9fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
- 250ml (9fl oz) carrot juice
- 1 orange
For the watercress purée
- 200g (7oz) watercress
- 1 tbsp natural yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
For the partridge
- 1 partridge, legs removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp butter
To make the pickle, peel the skin off the carrots, then peel the whole carrot into long, fine ribbons using a potato peeler. Toast the spices in a dry saucepan, then add the sugar and all the liquids and bring to the boil. Simmer the carrot strips for five minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Segment the orange, removing all membrane, and add to the cool liquid. This is best done one day in advance, but not more or the carrot loses its bite. Keep the liquid in the fridge for up to two months and use it for more pickling.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the watercress and cook for three minutes. Drain and refresh in iced water. Blend the watercress, yogurt and honey in a food processor to a smooth purée. This can be done up to two days ahead of time.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Sear the partridge crown in an ovenproof frying-pan in the olive oil until brown all over, then place in the oven to roast for eight minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and put it back on the heat. Add the thyme and butter, stirring to incorporate any nice burnt bits, then spoon the foaming butter over the meat and set aside to rest for five minutes.
Fish the carrots and oranges out of the pickling liquid and arrange on two plates. Drizzle over the watercress purée. Carve the partridge into thin strips and arrange neatly over the salad, decorating it with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.