Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #28: Dinner Party Duck!

Ingredients: gressingham duck, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, small orange, sprig fresh rosemary, 50g flaked almonds, 50g shelled pistachios, handful sour cranberries, 2 large pomegranates, olive oil, 6 small preserved lemons 4 lemon slices in lemon juice, 2 large handfuls of lambs lettuce lambs lettuce & rocket mixed salad, fresh mint, fresh parsley.

Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 5/5

Prepare the duck by washing thoroughly and rubbing in a mix of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and cinnamon until coated. Place the orange and a sprig of rosemary into the duck’s chest cavity and roast breast side down, for an hour.

After an hour remove the duck, drain off excess fat and flip breast-side up and cook for another hour. Once cooked and crispy remove from the oven and leave to cool.

While the duck is cooling toast the flaked almonds in a hot pan and chop the pistachios. Mix the nuts with the rind from the lemons (reserving the inside for the dressing) and sour cranberries.

Using a wooden spoon knock out the pomegranate seeds and add 2/3 to the nut mix along with the fresh mint, parsley and lettuce.

Make a dressing by blitzing the remaining pomegranate seeds with the insides of the lemons and the juice of the oranges from the roasted duck. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add extra virgin olive oil to taste. Mix 2/3 of the dressing with the salad ready for plating up.

Strip the meat from the duck, including the crispy skin, and pile onto a plate. Place a mound of the salad on top of the duck and scatter the pomegranate seeds and nuts around the plate. Finally drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve!

Review

Although I enjoy my Eats challenge and it’s helped me expand my knowledge and skills in the kitchen I “sometimes” find the process stressful and chaotic. As a result I’ve avoided inviting people over for dinner but this recipe was an ideal guinea pig.

The dish is relatively simple and although it involves roasting a whole duck the 2 hours cooking time gives you plenty of opportunity to prepare the other ingredients and entertain friends.

The salad was light, fresh, crunchy, crisp and delicious and the ingredients worked well together. I love pomegranates and they work particularly well with duck, sour cranberries and pistachios – giving the salad just the right balance between sweet and sour.

Although cooking a whole duck was hassle and felt wasteful it was worth the effort and the warm duck meat complimented the cold salad perfectly. The lambs lettuce and rocket worked really well combined with fresh mint and parsley giving your bursts of flavour.

The only problem was finding preserved lemons. I’m still not sure what they are or where you can buy them – In future I think I’ll use fresh lemon juice and zest.

Overall a really tasty recipe, enjoyed by all at the dinner party – definitely one to try again!

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