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Recipe of the week — Roast Duck and Orange Salad with warm hazelnut dressing

This salad is studded with texture and beautiful colours, from the dark green luscious watercress leaves, to the soft orange segments, the golden colour of the roasted nuts.  All of these colours are glazed by the dark vinaigrette dressing.

This salad has a blend of hot sweet, salt and sour.  The heat comes from the watercress and pepper, the sweet comes from the oranges and the duck meat, The dressing is savoury and sour from the vinegar and orange juice.  Delicious!

 Serves 4-6 

INGREDIENTS 

 ■ 4 Duck legs

 ■ Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 ■ 100g of Hazelnuts roasted and peeled

 ■ 200g Watercress picked and washed

 ■ 3 sprigs mint

 ■ 4 oranges peeled and segmented

 Dressing

 ■ 4 golden shallots finely chopped

 ■ 1Tablespoon picked thyme

 ■ 50ml 2 fl oz Orange juice

 ■ 50ml 2fl oz Extra virgin olive oil

 ■ 2 Tablespoons 30 ml Aged red wine vinegar 

 ■ Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 ■ Alternatively use any sort of finishing vinegar and leave out the olive oil and the OJ.

 METHOD

 Pre heat the oven to 180°C

1.) Place the duck legs on a piece of tin foil on a roasting tray and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake the duck legs in the oven on a moderate heat for 45-50 minutes.  Duck legs have large amounts of fat under the skin.  In a hot pan the skin would crisp, trapping the fat.  By cooking the duck more slowly the fat renders out from under the skin before the skin crisps up. Strain off any excess fat from the pan periodically.  You could also do this salad with a lower fat duck breast and grill the whole breast before slicing into strips. Alternatively you can use a whole roast duck from a Chinese BBQ shop

 2.) Roast the hazelnuts on a tray in the oven until golden brown about five minutes. Place the roasted hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the paper like skins.  This job is a good one to do in the sink so that the skin does not go all over your kitchen.  When the nuts are peeled, add them to the food processor. Pulse the nuts so that they are roughly chopped. Pick and wash the watercress and the mint.

3.) With a sharp knife remove the peel and pith of the oranges. Over a bowl segment the fruit by cutting just inside the dividing membrane of the segments. Save all juice in the bowl.  When all the segments are removed squeeze the remaining pith and membrane to extract all the juice. Repeat with all the fruit saving all the juice.

4.) Finely chop the shallots and gently fry in a little oil in a small saucepan until softened.  Add the chopped thyme and heat until fragrant. Tip the orange juice into the  small sauce pan with the other dressing ingredients.  Remove from the heat and leave the dressing to steep.

5.) When the duck is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Remove the skin and pull the meat off the bone with two forks.  Roughly chop the duck meat.

When ready to serve place the watercress in the bowl with the orange segments.  Tear the mint.  Add the duck meat to the bowl.

6.) Add half the chopped hazelnuts to the dressing and dress the salad.


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