New famous duck salad!

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The team behind the new duck dish.
The team behind the new duck dish.


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This week Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala creates a new tasting menu dish from his famous duck salad.

PRETTY much everyone knows the story about our famous duck salad dish served to Princess Diana in the 90’s with the promise to her that I would never take it off the menu under her orders! 

However 20 or so years on I have been desperate to evolve it and if I were an artist it would be like painting the same picture for over 20 years!

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So the other week I came up with the idea of serving two styles of duck salad in one so that you experience the rare juicy breast of duck cooked in a sousvide machine (or gently to keep it rare) coupled with the crispy sticky spicy confit leg. 

Good food is made great not only with its flavours but by textures too. Whatever you are cooking it is taken to the next level when you add crunch alongside softness and at Michelin level every component of the dish should have some interesting exciting flavours, not just be there on the plate.

For example if you add a few wild mushrooms to this duck dish you could pickle some of the mushrooms adding yet another tier of flavour and then when you bring it all together it tastes amazing and not just good.

Therefore this week I have been playing with the tiers of flavours of the duck salad for the tasting menu and asking clients what they think. Their response has been so positive that I thought I should share the recipe with you!

There are some intricate cooking techniques here so many of you might prefer to let me do it but if you are in the mood for cooking something sensually fantastic this weekend then this is the dish for you.

The original version that Princess Diana used to rave about has a lot of leaves and segments of lime with plenty of coriander. It is delicious but it is just a salad and it’s the chef’s job to evolve and enhance dishes.

This one is less of a salad and more of a plate of art but with levels of flavours to really stimulate your taste buds. I think Princess Diana would approve but I also think that she would prefer the version served to her in the early 90’s!

I must just emphasise that the picture below is tasting menu size (one of about eight courses) so you can increase the portion size if you are serving it as a starter or main dish. 

Enjoy cooking this creative dish and do let me know by email how you get on! 

Steven Saunders’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.


New-famous-duck-saladNew famous duck salad

TO make this dish easier to cook at home I am suggesting that you buy the duck leg confit as although it’s not difficult to make, it is time consuming in a domestic kitchen.

Ingredients for four (starter size)

  • 2 whole duck breasts skin on (Magret de Pato)
  • 2 duck legs cooked confit meat picked off the bone
  • A little cornflour
  • Seasoning

For the sauce

  • 250ml of sweet chilli sauce (700ml bottles are available from some supermarkets)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of white cooking wine
  • 150 ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of plum (or hoi sin) sauce (available in most supermarkets)
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (Thai Nam Pla)
  • 1 stick of fresh lemon grass finely shredded (or zest of one lemon)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 red onion cut in quarters
  • 3 pieces of star anise
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger (approx 3cm) peeled and finely shredded
  • Seeds of half a fresh pomegranate to finish
  • 1 fresh Spanish fig quartered (optional)

First prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients above together and heating in a sauce pan. Add the chicken stock to loosen it a little.

Cook for at least 30 minutes on a low heat. Set aside and allow to cool.  It should be nice and syrupy.

Remove all the visual hard spices like the cinnamon, onion and star anise etc with a slotted spoon.

To sousvide (or cook) the duck

Don’t panic because you can cook the duck on top of the stove, but the sousvide machine (heated water bath) breaks down the fat and makes it easier to crisp the skin with no fat underneath and it stops the duck shrinking.

For sousvide cook the duck breasts in a sealed vacuum pack for two hours at 55ºC. Alternatively cook slowly in a cool pan skin side down until skin is crispy (about 20 mins slowly).

Take the picked confit duck leg meat and toss it through some cornflour and dust off the flour with the meat in a sieve so that it isn’t thickly coated.

Fry the meat in a preheated fryer at full power approx 190ºC (or use a large wok) cook for two minutes or until crispy and season immediately with flakes of salt.

Drain onto tissue

Take approx one flat tablespoon of the finished sauce per person and add it to the duck with a few seeds of pomegranate then mix well together.

To serve

Slice the cooked pink duck breast with crisp skin on and arrange on a plate.

Add some crispy duck leg to the plate and some micro cresses and some orange puree (optional) see note below, add a few drops of the chilli sauce to the plate. (Add a small wedge of glazed fig or pickled mushrooms as garnish). See photo.

Orange puree

The orange puree is made by blanching a whole orange that has been scored from top to bottom and blanched for two minutes in boiling water. Refresh in ice water and blanch again at least five times (this removes the bitterness.)

Make a light caramel with sugar and water and cut up the blanched orange removing seeds and mix the pieces of orange with the caramel.

Blend in a food processor or thermomix until smooth and add approx 200ml of fresh orange juice whilst blending to help it to a perfect, smooth thick puree.

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