Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t a fan of cooking with fruit. I would even turn my nose up at a simple fruit salad. I was under the impression that fruit was only good for one thing, eating them as is. How very wrong I was.
When adding (the right) fruits to savoury dishes, you add flavours that just can’t be mimicked by other ingredients. Subtle sweetness and slight tartness (in some cases) are just two of the flavours that can’t be achieved by using an alternative. Think of when you add a squeeze of lemon juice to garlicky mushrooms. Nothing else can give you the zesty ‘lift’ that lemons give, especially to creamy or rich dishes.
With this salad I wanted to make a salad that could be eaten as a meal, on its own but still wanted to keep it simple, keeping the oranges and the duck as the main focus. I wanted to showcase the orange in a few different ways and thus I used its juice to deglaze the pan and in the dressing and caramelised a few segments to serve on top of the Asian salad leaves with the duck meat.
The dressing is simple and fragrant and gives the perfect amount of acidic-saltiness to balance out the sweet oranges and rich duck breasts.
for the duck
2 free-range duck breasts, fat scored
juice of 1/2 orange
salt to taste
for the salad
1 packet Woolworths Asian salad leaves
2 oranges, segmented
for the dressing
juice of 1/2 orange
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T soy sauce
2 T oil
1/2 t salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
- To cook the duck, fry the breasts, skin side down in a very hot oven-proof pan until golden brown and crisp. Turn over and fry for another 3 minutes.
- Add the juice of 1/2 orange over the duck breasts and season with the salt. Place the pan in the oven and allow to roast for 10-15 minutes until the duck is cooked to your liking.
- For the salad, heat a large frying pan over high heat and add the orange segments. Allow to caramelise and set aside.
- To make the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients and set aside.
- When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 1-2cm (0.79 inches) slices.
- Place the Asian salad leaves onto two plates, add the caramelised orange segments, sliced duck breasts and drizzle with the dressing.
- Serve immediately.
This recipe was developed for Woolworths for their Woolies Pantry for the duration of Masterchef SA.Alida Ryder