Chef Enzo Neri: Roasted pigeon, my Tribute to Marco Bistarelli

After 10 years of building an international career, I would like to dedicate this dish to my mentor, Marco Bistarelli, a man who taught me the techniques of cooking and who encouraged me to pursue a dream which has today ‘come true’. I remember the first time Marco gave me a pigeon to bone, after I had been watching him do it every day for 6 months. When I finished he looked at me straight in the eyes and said: “Enzo, you ruined a pigeon !”

Roasted pigeon with stewed spring onions, zucchini flowers in “salmi” sauce. 


1 pigeon 450g
1 Slice of traditional Parma ham
3 cloves of garlic
2 onions
2 sage leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 Lemon
1 glass of wine
3 tablespoons of vinegar
1 teaspoon of capers
1 egg
3 Courgette Flowers
Caul fat (pork crepinette)
Oil, Salt and pepper
Preparation of the pigeon:
Divide into 2 parts and boned the pigeon, clean heart and liver. Again divide the thighs from the breasts. Flame to clean the skin from the remains of feathers. Sauté the giblets with oil, garlic and sage. Sprinkle with a little wine. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool down, add a slice of ham and chop everything with a knife, add an egg yolk and bread crumbs to the mixture. After removing the “femur” from the leg, stuff it with the mixture and wrap with a piece of pork caul fat. Stopping with a string.
Turn on a sustained flame and in a covered pan put olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, sage, rosemary, capers, wine, vinegar and water, the bones, the tips of the wings and the carcass of the pigeon and cook for about 40 minutes, until you make a reduced thick sauce. Set apart and keep warm.
In a very hot pan, add oil, garlic and rosemary, cook the stuffed thigh all around and the pigeon breast placing it on the skin side. Put in the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove and make it rest. Meanwhile, place the spring onions in a pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little chicken or vegetable broth and bake for 7 minutes at 180 C. In a hot pan sear the flowers, add salt and pepper.
To serve, place the braised onion and the flowers on the plate, place the breast of pigeon on top, the thigh (after removing the string) and glaze all over with the hot “salmi” sauce.
Piccione arrostito in salsa salmi’ con cipollotti stufati e fiori di zucca
1 piccione 450g
1 Fetta di prosciutto nostrano
3 Spicchi d’aglio
2 Cipollotti
3 foglie di salvia
1 rametto rosmarino
1 Limone
1 bicchiere di vino
3 cucchiai d’aceto
1 cucchiao di capperi
1 Uovo
3 Fiori di Zucca
Rete di maiale
Olio, Sale e pepe
 Preparazione del piccione:
Dividere in 2 parti e disossare il piccione, pulire maghetti e fegati. Dividere ancora le cosce dai petti. Fiammeggiare per pulire la pelle dai residui delle penne. Far rosolare le interiora con oilo, aglio e salvia. Sfumare con un po’ di vino. Salare e pepare. Far raffreddare e battere a coltello con una fetta di prosciutto, aggiungere un tuorlo d’uovo e del pan grattato. Dopo aver tolto il “femore” dal cosciotto, farcirlo con l’impasto ottenuto e avvolgere con un pezzetto di rete di maiale. Fermare un uno spago.
A fiamma sostenuta, in un tegame coperto, con olio, limone, sale, aglio, salvia, rosmarino, capperi, vino, aceto e acqua, cuocere le ossa, le punte delle ali e la carcassa del piccione per circa 40 minuti, fino a riduzione della salsa salmi’. Passare e tenere al caldo.
In una padella molto calda, aggiungere olio, agli e rosmarino, cuocere la coscia farcita in su tutte le parti e il petto ponendolo sul lato della pelle. Mettere in forno per 5 minuti.
Togliere e fa riposare. Nel frattempo, mettere in una teglia i cipollotti, con olio, sale, pepe e un po’ di brodo di pollo o vegetale ed infornare per 7 minuti a 180 C. In una padella calda scottare appena i fiori di zucca, sale e pepe.
Per servire, ponete il cipollotto sul piatto, accostare i fiori di zucca, appoggiare il petto del piccione, la coscia ripiena (dopo aver tolto lo spago) e nappare con la salsa salmi’ calda.



I was born in 1971, in Citta’ di Castello, an Umbrian town in the Province of Perugia, in the heart of Italy. I studied Information Technology but at 29 years old I was “discovered” by Enrico Braganti, Head Chef of Villa Buitoni, whilst I was studying at the culinary school, Universita’ dei Sapori di Perugia. My next step was to work at the prestigious Michelin starred restaurant, Il Postale di Marco e Barbara in my native Citta’ di Castello under the guidance of my mentor patron, Chef Marco Bistarelli. Working under him was critical to my skills and professional development, there I learnt the foundation, technique and knowledge that are the basis of the cuisine for which I am well known: the re-interpretation and modernisation of traditional Italian dishes.
I have been working in the culinary industry for the last 11 years and have held a range of senior positions within this field. From Head Chef to consultancy design and management of new dining experiences for private clients.
I am passionate about food; cooking, eating, sharing, experimenting and developing it. It is what drives me to be the best chef and leader I can be, but what also inspires those around me.
I have a proven track record in creating award winning, innovative and consistently good cuisine. In Rococo, Sofitel, Dubai I was awarded with seal of quality which I gained again in Broken English, New York. In 2012 Sophie’s was awarded Best Gastro Café What’s On award, a restaurant I developed and led as Executive Chef for Whissle group. I have received many positive reviews in national, international and local publications. As a result of this I have a regular presenting slot on Dubai One’s TV show Studio One where I cook and present a dish.
I have successfully opened a number of restaurants across the world, taking them from initial concept to opening. I have primarily led on the development of menus with an innovative twist. I am a good communicator and am used to presenting and working with a range of people and audiences in English and Italian, orally and in writing. I am now looking for a new challenge where I can utilise the skills and experience that I have to develop an outstanding restaurant.

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