Spatchcocked partridge w/ caesar salad

Spatchcocked for easy cooking and served with one of the classic salads, this is a fun and accessible route to getting a game bird on your table.

I often talk about partridge being ‘entry level game’. Game birds, in the eyes of those who have never eaten them, come with a reputation for an overpowering ‘gamey’ flavour – a food for posh old men to show off about and chortle over. And it would be remiss to suggest that some of the British game birds don’t have these characteristics; a grouse, woodcock or snipe are certainly for the more adventurous palates. A partridge, however, has a more subtle flavour. Yes, some of the characteristics that you would expect from a wild animal but not scary and not overpowering. Also, partridge loves to be cooked and eaten with smoked bacon or pancetta, which, let’s face it, is cool.

An overhead shot of a pan with two spatchcocked partridges and crispy bacon. A plate of Caesar salad to the side.

Serves 2


For the dressing

Shop the ingredients


  1. Drizzle a little white wine vinegar over the shallot rings and set to one side.
  2. Set a heavy bottomed frying pan or cast-iron skillet over a medium heat. Add a tiny dribble of oil and then lay in the bacon. Cook, flipping a couple of times, until golden and crispy. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Cut the crusts off the bread and dice into chunky cubes and place in the same pan, with a little extra olive oil. Season with salt and then cook over a medium heat, tossing regularly until you have beautiful golden croutons. Remove from the pan and set aside but keep the pan out.
  4. Remove the wishbone from the bird with a small sharp knife. Then, using a sharp pair of scissors, cut either side of the partridge’s spine bone and remove. Then lay the birds on a board with the breasts facing up and apply pressure to the middle of the breast, to flatten the bird a little. Season the birds well on both sides with sea salt.
  5. Set the same pan over a medium heat with a splash of oil if needed and then lay the partridges in, skin side down. Once the pan is sizzling, turn the heat down to low and place a weight on top of the birds. Cook like this for 6-8 minutes, then flip the bird and turn the pan off. Lay the bacon over the partridge and leave to rest in the pan.

To make the Caesar dressing:

  1. For the dressing I used a pestle and mortar for this, as it felt appropriate given the small quantities, although if you wanted to bulk up the recipe you could do it in a food processor.
  2. Place the garlic in the mortar with a pinch of salt and pound until smooth. Then add the anchovies and pound again. Then add the egg yolk, a few twists of black pepper and Dijon mustard and beat with the pestle. Once all combined you can start to emulsify in the oil.
  3. Use the pestle to whisk the dressing and very slowly incorporate the olive oil and then the vegetable oil.
  4. Once all the oil is emulsified then add the lemon juice and grated parmesan, mix together and then leave to sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Assemble the salad:

  1. In a bowl, mix the gem lettuce leaves, shallot rings and croutons. Season with a little salt and then dress liberally with the Caesar dressing. Gently toss all together and then plate. Lay anchovy fillets over the top of the salad and then a little extra drizzle of dressing, and finally, a load of finely grated parmesan. Pop the partridge and bacon next to it and enjoy!