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Roasted Snipe on Sweetcorn and Tarragon Pancakes
November 2023
Reading time 1 Minute

This is an easy dish to prepare and cook, ensuring that the focus is on this magnificent bird

Tarragon goes well with game either in a pancake, stuffing or, in some cases, a light béarnaise sauce.
15 minutes, plus cooling
about 25–30 minutes
  • 4 tbsp of any oil
  • 4 snipe, drawn and cleaned, heads removed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the pancakes
  • 1 medium corn on the cob
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • about 125ml milk
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon
  • oil, for frying

To make the pancakes
Stand the corn on its end and, using a sharp knife, carefully slice down to shave off the kernels. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the corn kernels and sauté over a high heat for two to three minutes until they caramelise slightly. They may ‘pop’ like popcorn, so be careful. Tip onto a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and repeat the process with the onion. Spoon onto the plate with the sweetcorn and leave to cool. Mix the egg and half the flour together in a bowl, then gradually whisk in the milk, enough so that the mixture isn’t too thin. Add the remaining flour and whisk until you have a smooth batter. Add the tarragon and sweetcorn and onion, then season well with salt and pepper. 

Heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then add large spoonfuls of the batter – scoop it up from the base of the bowl so that you get some of the sweetcorn in each spoonful. Cook for two to three minutes, then flip over and cook for a further one to two minutes until well puffed and slightly browned. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat the process until all the batter is cooked.

To make the snipe
Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan. Season the snipe all over, then place one side down in the hot oil, transfer to the oven and cook for five minutes.

At the five-minute point, remove the pan from oven, turn the birds over onto the other side and return to the oven for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven, cover the birds loosely with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Transfer the birds to a chopping board. and, using a sharp knife, slice through the skin where the leg is attached to the breast, then pull the leg back on itself so that the ball and socket joint pops open and carefully pull the leg away. Carefully slice down one side of the breastbone, continuing to cut right along to the wing, then cut through the wing joint. Tease the flesh away from the crown and gently pull the breast meat away. 

Repeat on the other side. Cover the meat with foil and keep warm while you repeat with the other three birds. Serve the snipe legs crossed on the warm pancake, with the two tiny breasts on top of the legs.

‘Game’ by Phil Vickery and Simon Boddy. Published by Kyle Books

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