Thursday, December 17, 2009

Awesome duck salad

It was the 6th anniversary of the night Sandy asked me to marry him. (He’s much better at keeping track of these anniversaries than I am, but once reminded of the date, I was into it.) And I needed to cook something really special.
I don’t remember what I cooked that night; we’d driven up from Auckland to stay at our camp site, and it’s fair to say I had zero idea of what was in store for me. I probably cooked lamb racks and veges and potatoes from the garden, and after that we walked, as was our routine, up to the house site and out to the gate to close it. But this time, he ambushed me somewhere near where our bathroom now is, and said “I want to ask you something.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

So – my cooking has come along since then, I reckon, and I had in mind something nice with duck. I sometimes just roast duck legs with a bit of a glaze and some potatoes cooked in a teeny bit of the duck fat (note the teeny!). This is nice, but with the hot weather and the lovely radishes and lime leaves I’d picked up at the farmers market, I thought maybe something fresher. I rummaged, and discovered some mandarins and ginger in the fridge, and that was enough to get me going.

This duck salad turned out to be really awesome, if I do say it myself, and Sandy really loved it, which was the point of the exercise after all. What better gift is there than cooking something special for the one you love?

As an extra added bonus, I think the search for the Christmas day entrée is over. Make it now!

Duck, mandarin and radish salad

2 duck legs
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce

salad:
2 cups rocket leaves
3 mandarins, sliced into segments
2 radishes, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2cm piece ginger, very finely diced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely

dressing:
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
2 teaspoons kecap manis
2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Score the skin on the duck legs and place in a roasting dish skin-side down. Roast for 20 minutes, then turn over and roast another 30 minutes, draining the fat away after 15 minutes. Mix the honey and soy sauce together, and brush over the duck skin. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, then remove and leave to cool slightly, then pull the meat from the bones and slice.

To make the salad, mix the dressing ingredients together and blend well. Toss the dressing though the rocket leaves. Add the other salad ingredients and distribute between the plates. Add the duck on the top.

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter.

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