Peking Duck Salad
Do you know when something seems SO obvious that you cannot believe you didn't realise it in the first place? Take tonight - I had some duck breasts and was looking to throw them into a quick salad before Figman expired from hunger. I tossed them into a hot pan and cooked for 6 minutes on the skin side. I then removed the duck fat from the pan (knew I should have bought that silicon baster) and put the breasts back in, on the other side, to cook for about 4 minutes. This is longer than the guidelines given in Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion, but I like my duck cooked. I left the breasts to sit in the pan while I got the salad ready.
A bowl full of mixed mesculun. Some olive oil and white wine vinegar. I ferried around in the veggie drawer for something solid and came up with a cucumber. This was peeled and julienned, in pieces about the length of a matchstick. My usual sauce had run out but I thought "Oh I'll just use the lovely Cunliffe Waters Spicy Blood Plum Sauce". As I continued slicing the duck into lovely thick chunks, my eyes wandered across the strips of pale cucumber and I thought "Oh my goodness, it's Peking Duck salad! How could I miss it??".
Okay, it's not stricly authentic. And I'd like to work on it a little when I am not restricted with my dietary intake. But for me, the changes are obvious: five spice powder on the duck as it sizzles; something crunchy - maybe diced bread fried in the duck fat; and the harsh bite of onion. Spring onion would be usual, but I'd like to try spanish onion for the texture and colour against the greens. Anyway, here it is for now, in all its imperfections.