Roast Duck Breast Salad with Lentils, Pomegranate and Rocket Leaves
This salad is at its most delicious where the duck is freshly roasted, however we often use leftover roast duck – legs or breast. You could pop the duck into the oven or under the grill for a few minutes to re-crisp the skin.
Serves 8 -10
4 freshly pan-grilled duck breasts (see recipe), preferably free-range
225g (8oz) Puy lentils
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
1 onion, stuck with 2 cloves
a little bouquet of fresh herbs - a few parsley stalks, a sprig of thyme and marjoram
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 tablespoons (8 American tablespoons + 8 teaspoons) extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (4 American tablespoons + 4 teaspoons) pomegranate molasses
freshly squeezed lemon juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
lots of rocket leaves
6-8 spring onions, chopped at an angle
110g (4ozs) toasted walnuts
fresh coriander leaves
Wash the lentils and put into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, add the carrot, onion and bouquet garni. Bring slowly to the boil, reduce heat and simmer very gently for 10-15 minutes, testing regularly. The lentils should be 'al dente’ but not hard. Drain, remove and discard the carrot, onion and bouquet garni. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk the olive oil, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice in a bowl. Cut the duck meat plus crispy skin into chunky pieces. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Cover the base of a serving plate with rocket leaves. Mix the lentils with the dressing, taste and correct the seasoning. Scatter lots of sliced onions evenly over the leaves. Arrange the crispy duck chunks over the top. Sprinkle lots of pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts (see below) over the top. Finally add a good sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves and serve.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°/Gas Mark 4.
Roast the walnuts for 8-10 minutes until pale golden.
How to Pan-grill a Duck Breast (Magret de Canard)
Score the fat of the duck breasts and put skin-side down on a cold grill pan. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15–20 minutes. When the fat is thin and crisp, turn over onto the flesh side (the duck breast should be about half-cooked). Sprinkle with a little salt and continue to cook until it reaches the required degree of doneness – medium to well-done is many people’s preference. I personally find that rare duck, which was very fashionable when nouvelle cuisine was all the rage, can be unpleasant and tough.