Long gone are the days when salads consisted of a few lettuce leaves, some tomatoes and grated carrots, a la 1970′s. Today there are so many inventive recipes that ordering, cooking and most importantly, eating, salads has been given a new kudos and a certain status that it is now totally acceptable to serve up a salad or two as the main dish when guests come over.
Personally I like them to be colourful and a little bit unexpected in as far as ingredients and taste go. Mixing and marrying ingredients that are salty and sweet and creating the right ying yang within the dish is so important. Over the last year I have cooked a few that stand out for me – check them out here – watermelon – mango – tofu – lentil. If you cook a couple when friends come over you’ll have a real feast and they can all be cooked in advance so that there is no stress when your guests arrive. People often like a choice so I normally prepare two or three. Leftovers the day after also work providing you keep them in the fridge.
I had a very similar duck salad to the one I have cooked here at a friend’s house a couple of years ago and was eager to share it with you. Other than the fact that the duck needs to cook slowly in an oven for an hour and half, the dish is very straightforward to make and will definitely get a positive response from those you serve it to. The raspberry vinegar you can buy at large supermarkets here in the UK and I am sure they have something similar overseas. The sweetness mixed with the duck and salad is really tasty. You do need to get hold of duck legs (ideally with the skin on) as opposed to breast, as the meat is far more succulent on the bone.
Which salads stand out for you? Post a comment to let me know and perhaps you’ll see your salad idea up here on my blog over the summer – with all credit to you.
Who said salads are boring?
Duck, Pomegranate, Coriander and Mint Salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing
4 duck legs
110g pomegranate seeds
1 handful of fresh mint, chopped
1 generous handful of fresh coriander, chopped,
5 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
4 tsp of raspberry fruit vinegar
rock salt and ground black pepper
70g lambs lettuce
1. Place the duck legs in a preheated oven at 150 degrees (if using a fan oven and 10 degrees more if not) for an hour and a half. Cooking the duck slowly at a low heat will allow the meat to become tender and the fat to reduce considerably.
2. I used the speedy option of pre-prepared pomegranate seeds but obviously if can get hold of fresh pomegranate I encourage you to use them. Tapping the fresh pomegranate gently on its side will allow the pips to dislodge from the pith allowing them to break free more easily. I used 110g but if you use a little more that is absolutely fine, it does not have to be exact with regards to the pomegranate seeds. Place them and the juice into a mixing bowl.
3. Finely chop the spring onions and add to the mixing bowl along with the fresh chopped coriander and mint.
4. Finely slice a red chilli and if you prefer it to have less of a kick remove the seeds. Add to the mixing bowl. If you are feeding this dish to young children then obviously just omit the chilli part.
5. When the duck legs are cooked it is important to let them cool completely before shredding them with a fork. I tend to remove most of the skin, but it is up to you.
6. Place the duck into the mixing bowl and add 4 tsp of raspberry fruit vinegar and mix in well to the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Place the lambs lettuce on a serving dish and lay the the duck salad across the top and serve.