This spectacular salad combines fatty duck with clean salad flavours and some snazzy dressings. If you want to make one thing from here, try the spicy pecans with a salad of your choice.
This recipe makes more of the dressings than you may need. Any extra will keep in the fridge for a few days.
1 duck breast
1 romaine (cos) lettuce, cut in half
salt and pepper
100g/3½oz crumbled bleu d’Auvergne (or other French blue cheese)
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 baguette, diced and fried to make croutons
50g/1¾oz green grapes, sliced in half
50g/1¾oz black grapes, sliced in half
50g/1¾oz semi-dried grapes
8 slices duck ham
pinch espelette pepper, or French ground chilli pepper
First make the salt marinade. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and store in an airtight container. You will need 60g/2oz of the salt rub per kilo of meat.
Rub the dug legs all over with the salt rub. Leave them in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the meat at least four times during the curing process.
To make the blue cheese dressing, place the ingredients in a blender, and blend for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper if required. Keep refrigerated until needed.
For the house dressing, using a stick blender mix the French dressing, honey and vinegar together. Slowly add the vegetable oil with the blender still running (the same way as you would to make mayonnaise).
When the dressing has emulsified add the shallots, garlic and herbs. Blend until the dressing starts to turn greenish from the herbs. Leave to infuse for 1-2 hours, and then pass through a fine chinois or fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep refrigerated until needed.
For the crème fraîche dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until needed.
For the honey dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl with 50ml/2fl oz water. Keep refrigerated until needed.
For the remoulade, place all the ingredients in a large glass bowl and mix.
For the spice mix place all the ingredients in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
To confit the duck legs, remove them from the salt marinade and wash them.
Heat a heavy frying pan over a low-medium heat, then add the duck legs to the pan and cover them completely in the duck fat.
Bring the duck fat to a gentle simmer and cook the duck legs gently for 2-2½ hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Preheat the oven to 165C/330F/Gas 4.
Remove the duck legs from the fat and transfer to a hot ovenproof pan. Fry them skin side down until browned. Add the chestnuts to the pan and transfer to the oven to heat through and crisp. Keep warm until ready to serve.
For the spicy pecans, preheat the oven to 165C/330F/Gas 4
In a large frying pan, melt the butter with the sugar to make a caramel. Add the cayenne pepper then fold in the pecans. Gently fold in the whisked egg whites until all the nuts are coated.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 25 minutes, stirring two or three times, until done.
For the duck breast, place it skin-side down in a hot, dry pan. Season the upper side with salt. Fry until cooked to your liking. Add the honey dressing to the pan and season with spice mix before serving
To assemble the salad, place the remoulade in the corner of a large serving board.
Season the lettuce with salt and pepper, drizzle with blue cheese dressing and house dressing. Dot over the top with the blue cheese, chives, croutons, fresh grapes, dried grapes. Roll up the duck ham and place on top.
Take the chestnuts from the pan that has been in the oven and dress them in the house dressing. Add them on top of the salad. Season the salad with the espelette pepper. Place the confit leg and sliced duck breast on the end of the board.
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James is joined by chefs Paul Rankin and Nigel Haworth, plus actor Bradley Walsh.
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