Summer equals salads. But then it rains a bit, and the wind starts coming from the North. But then the sun comes out again and its 100% humidity. The weather doesn’t know what it’s doing and it makes you feel like you’re not quite sure whether you should be eating something to cool you down or warm you up. A warm salad is the perfect solution!
This particular salad has a pretty special main ingredient. It’s not any old duck breast (even though that would be lovely too). Oh no, this is THE best duck meat you will get anywhere. Local? Yes. Hand reared? Yes. 100% all natural diet? Yes. Happy Ducks? Yes, yes and thrice yes! They have a better llife than me, you or most of us I’d say. Skeaghanore West Cork Duck is a delight of an ingredient. This salad is an oak-smoked duck breast which technically you can eat cold from its happy wrapper, but a gentle spice rub and a warming turns it into, I think, something extra special. It’s not the cheapest ingredient on the planet so it is to be used conservatively, but is no less packed with flavour. And anyway, I like to think that my duck has had the best possible life!
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 Skeaghanore West Cork Oak-Smoked Duck Breast
1 tsp of ground Mixed Spice
1 tsp of ground cayenne pepper
2 medium carrots
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp of chopped coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper and smoked sea salt
1 bag of mixed salad leaves (ideally watercress, rocket, and herby aromatic salad leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Take the duck breast out of the packet and with a very sharp knife, make a criss-cross of cuts along the duck breast skin side (not deep, just enough to slice through the skin).
On to the duck breast, rub the mixed spice and cayenne pepper all over and into the knife marks.
Place the breast skin side down into a cold frying pan, and turn on the heat to medium-low.
Place the salad potatoes onto boil in some salted water.
Grate the two carrots. Set aside into a bowl and grate into it the zest of the orange and add in the ground cumin, chopped coriander, a good grinding of black pepper and season with the smoked sea salt. Pour over 1tsp or so or Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix well together (I find its best using my hands); taste to check seasoning and adjust according to your pallet.
On two dinner plates, arrange the salad leaves.
Check the duck breast. If there is colour on the skin, turn it over to heat through from the other side too.
Cut the pomegranate into quarters. Take one quarter for each plate and knock out the seeds with a spoon (or pop them out using your hands) over the salad leaves.
Arrange the carrot salad in a rough line through the centre of the salad on each plate.
Check the duck again, and turn it over again for final colouring of the skin. Turn the heat down slightly (if cooking with gas) or off altogether (if cooking with electric) so the duck continues to warm through without buring the skin.
Check that the potatoes are cooked and drain. Set aside.
Take the duck out of the pan, and slice it in thin diagonal strips. The duck should not be hot, merely warmed through. Arrange the strips on each plate on top of the carrot salad.
Take the last two quarters of the pomegranate for each plate, knock a few more seeds out over the duck and then squeeze the pomegranate for the juice. It doesn’t need to be swimming in juice, but you want to be able to tell it’s there too!
Finally finish off the dish with a final flourish of black pepper and about 1tsp of extra virgin olive oil over each salad plate.
Place a few salad potatoes on the side of the salad, so as not to wilt the leaves, and serve immediately!