Duck and apricot salad

Duck and apricot saladThis salad tastes as good as it looks. It makes a very impressive starter for 6 or a light lunch for 4.

If apricots are out of season mango slices make a good substitute.

DUCK AND APRICOT SALAD
Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon crushed dried red chillies
3 tablespoons oil
60 ml white wine or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
6 to 8 small apricots
2 large duck breast
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teasoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
450 g mixture fresh spinach and rocket
2 bunches watercress
225 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

METHOD:

Sauté ginger, garlic and red pepper in the oil in a small skillet for 1 minute; remove from heat and stir in vinegar, honey, soy sauce, cinnamon and allspice.

Pierce apricots all over with a fork. Cut lengthwise into quarters and discard the stone. Combine the apricots and dressing in a small bowl; toss together and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Deeply score the skin of the duck breasts in a diamond pattern.

Combine the spices and salt and rub all over, rubbing deeply into the cuts of the scored skin.

Heat a frying pan until hot and place the breasts in the pan, skin side down. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes.

If you like the duck rare, turn it over now and cook the other side, if you like it cooked but still pink in the middle, leave for a further 3 minutes before turning.

Cook the other side for about 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. When cold place in the fridge, covered, for 15 minutes to firm up.

When ready to serve, remove and discard the skin from the duck breasts and cut the meat into julienne strips.

Line salad bowl spinach, rocket and watercress. Top with mushrooms and onion.

Drain the apricots, reserving the dressing, and arrange with the duck strips over the vegetables.

Drizzle with the reserved dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Toss everything together and serve.

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