Gordon goes troppo (+ recipe)

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On the back of his latest TV series, Gordon Ramsay has produced a cookbook full of Asian delights.

Roasted duck leg and bamboo shoot salad. Photo / Supplied
Roasted duck leg and bamboo shoot salad. Photo / Supplied

The British press have not been kind to celeb-chef Gordon Ramsay and his myriad television programmes.

His most recent took him to parts hot and steamy - to escape the heat back home. We follow him to Southeast Asia - Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. The premise of the programme is admirable: spend time with the country's best chefs, street-hawkers and home cooks to get to grips with the local cuisine.

This time Ramsay is filmed swallowing a raw cobra heart, provoking the necessary outrage from British animal rights activists, but apparently not helping the ratings much (the programmes went to air this month in Britain).

After a whirlwind trip through each country, Ramsay cooks for a panel of local chefs and foodies, who, to their delight, find he is not as good as native-born cooks who've grown up tasting and cooking these dishes.

The 100 recipes trip from place to place, but Ramsay's explanations of the people who cooked them and the photographs of the cooks, markets and towns are as tempting to the traveller as the cook.

A handy introduction for a novice to Southeast Asian ingredients.

Roasted duck leg and bamboo shoot salad

I am a big fan of duck. When roasted to perfection the crispy skin is just amazing. In this recipe, I couldn't help adding some orange as a nod to the French connection to Vietnam, and the fact that the Vietnamese have soaked up many classic French cooking techniques.

Serves 4

Duck
4 duck legs, fat trimmed
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Marinade and dressing
Juice of 4 oranges
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Salad
cucumber, peeled
130g sliced bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
Small handful of mint
50g spinach leaves, washed
50g watercress, washed
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 oranges, peeled and segmented

Garnish
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tsp crispy shallots (sliced and fried in vegetable oil)

1 Preheat the oven to 200C. Pat dry the duck legs with kitchen paper and, using the tip of a sharp knife, lightly score the leg (this will help the fat of the duck render down during roasting).

2 Sprinkle the duck with the cinnamon, five-spice powder, salt and pepper and then rub this into the fat. Place the duck skin side up on a roasting rack, with a pan underneath to catch the fat. Cook for 1 hour; check every 15 to 20 minutes and baste the duck throughout.

3 Mix together the orange juice, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Once the duck has cooked for an hour, remove from the oven and pour half the marinade over the duck legs (reserving the remainder for later). Return to the oven and continue to cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes.

4 Once the skin has turned golden brown and crispy, remove the legs from the oven and allow to cool. The meat should be tender and almost falling off the bone.

5 To prepare the salad, cut the cucumber lengthways into long, wide strips using a vegetable peeler, avoiding the seeds. Mix the cucumber and remaining salad ingredients and divide among four plates.

6 Using a fork, shred the duck meat, gently pulling it away from the bone and keeping the skin attached to the meat shreds. Carefully place the meat on the plates.

7 Sprinkle the salad with the sesame seeds and garnish with the crispy shallots.

8 Finally, make the dressing by placing the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes, until slightly thickened. Cool, then drizzle over the salad. Serve immediately.

* Recipe extracted from Gordon's Great Escape Southeast Asia, by Gordon Ramsay.

Be in to win

We have one copy to give away of Gordon's Great Escape South-East Asia, by Gordon Ramsay (HarperCollins $59.99).

Email your contact details to life@nzherald.co.nz with "Gordon's Great Escape" in the subject line, by Thursday, June 2.

- NZ Herald

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