Trim and clean up the pigeon crowns and remove the wishbones.
When ready to serve, place each crown in separate small vacuum pouches and divide the first measure of butter, the thyme and bay leaf between them. Vacuum-pack on 100 per cent for 25 seconds in a chamber vacuum sealer*. Place the bags in a circulating water bath (or saucepan filled with water) heated to 60°C (140°F) and leave for 14 minutes. Remove from the bath and allow the crowns to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Remove the crowns from the bags and dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towel. Season well with salt. Add the oil to the pan and seal the pigeon skin on all sides until dark golden brown. Carve the breasts off the crown, trim each edge and remove the tiny piece of sinew on the flesh side of the top of each breast.
When ready to serve, season the pigeon again on both sides with salt. Gently heat a frying pan over low heat. Add the second measure of butter and when it has melted, add the breasts and gently warm but do not fry. Remove the breasts from the pan and drain on paper towel. Trim the edge of the breasts slightly.
© 2012 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.