Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Divine Duck

Firstly, I am happy to report that after lots of searching, disappointing open houses, inflexible real estate agents and horrible paperwork we found a gorgeous old house through a private listing, with a delightful landlady who made the whole process a pleasure. So, this weekend Gourmet Goddess will be relocating to a new kitchen! I can't wait to set up my new cooking workspace, which includes an old fashioned walk in butler's pantry and a dishwasher (those post dinner party washing up sessions are going to be so much easier!) We now also have a garden where we will be growing some of our own herbs and produce, so prepare for some Gourmet Goddess gardening content in the future.

So, at the moment the house looks like a bomb site and there are boxes everywhere as we start to pack. We move on Friday. I am trying to clear the freezer and the pantry before we move, (less to pack and a chance to use up ingredients) so that was the inspiration for today's recipe. I had two Game Farm duck breasts that I wanted to use, so I created a duck salad, served with toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds and creamy white bean puree. I used delicious, delicate tasting mache leaves as the green component. I first saw these salad greens in France, where they seem to be the salad leaves of choice - but I had never seen them in Australia until Sunday afternoon when I found them for sale at Harris Farm Grocer (I picked them up at Broadway, if you live in New South Wales) If you can't find mache, then use any greens that take your fancy - baby spinach or rocket would be lovely.

This salad doesn't require a dressing - I just drizzled over the pan juices from the duck and it was delicious. I toasted the walnuts for a couple of minutes in a dry pan, to add a nutty taste and some crunchy texture. You can use any kind of white beans for the puree - I used tinned cannelini beans, but butter beans would work too. Always remember to rinse tinned beans really well before use for a better result.

You could marinate the duck overnight if you wanted to, but I didn't have any time to do that so I only let it sit in the marinade for about 15 minutes - it worked fine. I absolutely love pomegranates, but if you don't like them or you have trouble finding them, my next choice would be tangy pieces of pink grapefruit. I think anything with a tartness to cut through the richness of the duck would be ideal.

If you are a little bit daunted by the idea of cooking duck, this is a great way to introduce yourself to it. The instructions are foolproof and you will end up with a deliciously tender result. Give it a try. Next week I will be reporting from the new Gourmet Goddess kitchen, so see you then!

Duck breast salad with white bean puree, walnuts and pomegranate

You will need:
2 duck breasts- skin on, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 clove minced or finely chopped garlic, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts, a tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds, a couple of handfuls of mache (or other salad) leaves,1 tin well rinsed and drained white beans, a splash of olive oil, 1 tablespoon natural yogurt (the thick continental style if you can get it) salt, peppper to taste, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar - take your pick.

First, with a very sharp knife, score the skin on the duck breasts - I cut them on the diagonal so that it cuts through the skin, but not the flesh underneath. Combine the paprika, garlic, olive oil, cayenne and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the duck breasts and ensure they are all covered. Set aside for about 15 minutes (or overnight)

In a food processor, blend the rinsed beans, olive oil, yoghurt, lemon juice (or whatever you decided to use) and season very generously with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Preheat the oven to about 220C.

In a non stick pan, cook the duck breasts on a low to medium heat for 3 minutes, skin side down. The skin should turn golden and the fat will start to render from the skin. Turn the duck over and cook for another minute.

Transfer the duck to a baking dish and cook for about 15 mins in the oven. Remove the duck from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting diagonal slices to serve. Save the pan juices - they will form the sauce.

To assemble the salad, simply start with a layer of bean puree, then arrange your salad leaves, pomegranate and walnuts. Finish off with slices of the duck and drizzle over the pan juices just before serving.

Serves 4 people as an entree or 2 as a main. We ate ours with crusty bread to mop up the bean puree and the delicious duck juices.



  1. lol! that's very similar to what i made last night (which is why i had the left over pomegranate). i used watercress, mint and parsley for greens and added beetroot, asparagus, feta, walnuts and grilled lamb with a pomegranate, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar and a bit of pomegranate molasses dressing. it was very yummy, but i bet duck would be yummier!


  2. Yuuuum! That sounds fabulous.I absolutely love pomegranate - the tartness, the colour, the texture. Thanks for sharing yours with me yesterday afternoon! I'm planning on a pomegranate dish this weekend when I have friends to lunch.