Duck, Pomegranate, Coriander and Mint Salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing

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 – watermelonmangotofulentil. 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

Serves 4

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.


Garlic Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

Butternut squash are one of those wonderful fresh ingredients that you can buy and store for a reasonable amount of time. I haven’t tested their longevity as such, but I know that they are fine for at least a month. (Any other educated guesses then let me know?)

If you can get past the fact that peeling them can be a bit labourous at times, you are treated to a sweet tasting, vibrant and versatile vegetable that generally passes muster with most people. It’s generally not one of those vegetables that people are known to turn their noses up at, unlike perhaps this, so it’s a great vegetable to feed the whole family. It’s bright, vivid colour is clealy a mood enhancer and with all this terrible weather we have been having lately, I welcolme it wholeheartedly into my cooking.  

I love all manner of lentils and pulses and cook with them most days in some capacity. This dish I cook in bulk and then eat over a few days. It stores well in the fridge, although I tend to keep the feta seperate until ready to serve, as I find it tends to crumble if I mix it in too early with the other ingredients. As with all my recipes if you are feeding it to your young children I omit the chilli.

The dish has some wonderful flavours going on, that combined together works really well. I sometimes add pomegranate seeds and had planned to put them in, but somehow managed to forget this time around. So if you fancy throwing in another bright colour to make the dish even more cheery and summery then add some pomegranate seeds.

 

 Garlic Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

Serves 6

250g lentils

8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 tbsp olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped and deseeded

200g feta

1 small red onion, finely sliced

handful of fresh parsley

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees.

2. Peel a small/medium sized butternut squash and cut into bite sized cubes. Place on a baking/roasting tray along with the chopped garlic cloves. Using your hands cover the cubes and garlic with olive oil.

3. Place in the oven and leave to cook for 40 minutes.

4. Rinse the lentils in cold water to give them a good clean and then place them in a pan with cold water so that they are well covered and leave on a medium heat for 20-25 minutes (see packet for details). They should be nicely softened by this stage. Drain and leave to cool.

5. Finely slice a small red onion and red chilli (de-seeded if you prefer it less hot) and cut the feta cheese into small cubes.

6. In a small bowl mix the red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar and sugar and season to taste.

7. Gently mix all the ingredients, aside from the feta, together in a bowl first. Serve sprinked with feta cubes and a generous portion of chopped flat leaf parsley.

Serve at room temperature.

As the feta is so naturally salty you will probably find that you do not need to season with extra salt.