Recipe: Duck salad with caramelised fennel and bitter leaves

By Grant Allen

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Duck salad with caramelised fennel and bitter leaves. Photo / Doug Sherring
Duck salad with caramelised fennel and bitter leaves. Photo / Doug Sherring

Maggie made this with pheasant. I substituted that with duck.

Serves 6 for lunch

1 Marinate a medium-sized duck in olive oil, thyme sprigs, the juice and zest of one orange and 2 tablespoons of juniper berries.

2 After a few hours sear off the duck in butter in a heavy based pan.

3 Cut the legs off the frame and roast these with the duck body in a medium oven, adding any remaining marinade. Unlike a pheasant, the duck will give a lot of fat. Drain this off during the cooking to achieve a crisp skin. Cook till the duck is still "pink", at least 20 minutes.

4 Remove the meat from the pan, drain on paper towels and rest.

5 Remove the duck breasts and slice. Slice the meat off the legs, splash with verjuice and keep warm.

6 Slice fennel bulbs into crescents. Melt some butter in a heavy-based pan. When butter is nut brown turn the heat down and add some olive oil. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of sugar, then add the sliced fennel. Season with salt and cook until lightly caramelised.

7 Drain the oil and butter off the pan, add some capers, black pepper and a tablespoon of verjuice and reduce the liquids. Keep warm.

8 Make a salad base of bitter leaves, radicchio, sorrel, whitlof and rocket. I also like to add some cos for a fresh crunch contrast.

9 Arrange the duck and caramelised fennel across this.

Dress with a good olive oil and serve. Maggie made a hot dressing to pour over this with some reduced pheasant (duck) stock. I think there is enough going on with the duck and fennel juices to not need to do this.

- Herald on Sunday

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